This week saw a January full moon, or “wolf moon” as the American Indians call it due to the wolves howling at it! Cold crisp evenings such as the one on Tuesday evening are good news for amateur astronomers like myself, and at 21:21 (the exact time of the full moon if you were wondering) I donned a second jumper, my thickest coat, gloves (2 pairs) hat and scarf. Armed with my telescope, compass, digital camera and planisphere (a recently acquired Christmas present) I set out my stall in the back garden for an evenings stargazing.
Tonight’s mission – should I chose to accept it and my fingers didn’t get frost bite first – was to have my first attempt at stella photography. According to People’s Astronomer Mark Thompson (follow him on Twitter @PeoplesAstro) you can get some very good images using a normal digital camera without all your high tech paraphernalia that professional photographers use. Sounded good to me, but in reality not quite as simple…..
For a start the moon is moving so it doesn’t stay in your viewfinder for long (well actually it is us that’s moving but that’s too long a story!) and then you need to focus the camera through the viewfinder on your image (in my case the moon) Of course you can buy mega expensive attachments to put on your telescope to do this for you, but what would be the fun in that??
So I gave it my best shot (no pun intended) and I am very proud of my first attempt. OK, I never got the moon in the centre of the shot.. it kept moving, but for a family digital camera I think I got good results. I might not be winning any photography awards soon, but who knows… this time next year???