March 13th, 2022, 8:40 p.m. local time
Conditions: 43 degrees Fahrenheit / 6 degrees Celsius; nearly fully clear sky, marginal wind, Waxing Gibbous Moon
Opportunity in astrophotography is defined by conditions always in motion. My availability, my general health, the weather conditions, the pool of potential targets, and my willingness to photograph those targets, all must align for me to actually go outside with my equipment to take pictures, that may or may not end up on my blog, after a session of post-processing.
Fortunately today, all of these conditions aligned quite well, and so I was able to take pictures of the Moon. This was the first time since November’s Lunar Eclipse that I carried my Dobsonian telescope outside, the limiting factor over these past nearly four months being the health of my arm. Fortunately it is much better, and though not 100%, the task of carrying the tube and mount are brief and easy to my backyard deck.
With the Moon high overhead, it was the obvious target tonight. Normally for this equipment setup, I choose my 14.5mm planetary eyepiece. But I decided to try something a tad different and go for a very stock 40mm eyepiece, which I originally bought with my Mak-Cass telescope and rarely use now, as I opt for the more-specialized and higher grade eyepieces I bought in subsequent years.
For this task, the 40mm eyepiece appears more than sufficient, as shown in the accompanying final image. The only tangible difference is that I used an image from the stock iPhone camera app versus NightCap. Whenever I do afocal photography with my iPhone, I always take a set of photographs with the basic camera app and another set with the NightCap app. Nearly always, the NightCap app photos prove superior in post-processing examination. But for today’s portfolio, I found the stock images better than NightCap’s. Why, I cannot explain, as it is simply my personal judgement.
Telescope and photography settings:
- 254mm Dobsonian (homemade)
- 1/237 sec exposure
- ISO 25
- Orion Multi-Coated 40mm eyepiece (1.25″)
- iPhone XS with stock camera app on eyepiece mount
- Touchups in PaintShop Pro and AfterShot Pro