Shooting the Moon

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taxman0720
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Shooting the Moon

#1

Post by taxman0720 » Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:27 pm

Hello. Just got my telescope last week and love it!! The detail I can see on the moon is amazing. Jupiter and Saturn is pretty cool too. This is in my own back yard in a city. Can't wait to get to dark skies. Anyway, I just want to confirm I am not missing anything when I go and shoot the moon. I have a DSLR and the proper adapter to hook up to the telescope. From my reading, I will not be able to change the aperture but I can change ISO and shutter speed. I will have the camera in manual mode. My main question is focus. Since there will not be a DSLR lens on the camera, I can't set focus to infinity. The only thing I have read is to use live view and try to focus through that. Right now, all I am attempting is to do less than 30 second exposures of the moon with no stacking. I want to start simple and build up from there. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#2

Post by helicon » Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:38 pm

Congrats on the new scope!!!
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#3

Post by smp » Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:08 pm

Congratulations!

It sounds to me like you have a good handle on things, but since I'm only a visual observer, the only advice I have to offer is to try some experiments during the daytime to get some practice. Terrestrial viewing/photography will put your focus in a very different position, so don't forget to put your focus back to about where it needs to be before your next nighttime observing.

Good luck, and clear skies!

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Re: Shooting the Moon

#4

Post by Don Quixote » Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:12 pm

Congratulations Taxman !
I am now looking forward to a posting of your moon shoot !
I hope you have nice clear, steady skies soon !
Cheers!
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#5

Post by Refractordude » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:06 pm

Don Quixote wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:12 pm
Congratulations Taxman !
I am now looking forward to a posting of your moon shoot !
I hope you have nice clear, steady skies soon !
Cheers!
Me too
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#6

Post by PapaFox » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:27 pm

Congratulations on your new scope!
If you're getting into AP, you should consider getting a field flattener . It helps keeping the entire image in focus. Sometimes the center of the image will be in focus but the edges will not, the flattener will help. It will widen the view and speed up your scope.
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#7

Post by KathyNS » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:33 pm

Definitely use live view to focus. If you have the camera tethered to a USB port on a computer, look at the live view on the big screen.

You can focus on a bright star. Make the image of the star as small as you can get it. Eventually, you might want to make or buy a Bahtinov mask for precise focusing. If the stars are in focus, the Moon will be too, and vice versa.
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#8

Post by JayTee » Sun Oct 06, 2019 7:38 pm

Also, if you have a barlow lens don't hesitate to experiment with that too. A lot of us who image the planets and the moon use our barlow to get a bigger image.

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Re: Shooting the Moon

#9

Post by TCampbell » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:31 am

With the camera attached to the telescope, you'll be able to use the focuser on the telescope (while looking through the camera eyepiece or using the "live view" screen) to focus.

Your scope is an f/10 scope. Set the ISO to 100 (there is no need to increase it) and set the shutter speed to 1/125th (normally at f/11 you'd use ISO 100 and 1/100th but you're about 1/3rd stop faster at f/10 so you'll want to slightly bump up the shutter to around 1/125th to compensate). It should nail the exposure.

Take your time focusing. If you use "live view" mode then you can usually zoom the live-view display to inspect the edges until you are satisfied that it is sharp.

Sometimes it is easier to focus on a star because that gets you a pin-point light source. Focus to make the point of light as small as possible (and zoom the live-view to confirm).

Lastly (the most important step) ... post the results back here!! :-)
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#10

Post by Thefatkitty » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:44 am

Hi taxman0720,

Congrats on the new scope, nice :D

I regularly "shoot the moon" with a DSLR and an 80mm @f/11.4. I agree with all the advice given here as well. I use live mode on the camera, bump the nagnification on that to 10X, and adjust focus along the terminator line.
And I'd have to think that you'd want to limit exposure time depending on the brightness. JMHO.

Stacking might be your friend, really. I took single shots for years, then when I realized I could combine a bunch to bring out all the detail, I never looked back. Trust me, it's not hard (heck, I can do it :lol:) and myself and others here would be more than happy to help you out with the process. Best part, all the software is free...!!

Again, congrats on the scope and hope to see some pics!

All the best,
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#11

Post by taxman0720 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:57 am

As always, thank you for all the information. This weekend was terrible viewing so I hope I get some good skies this week.
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#12

Post by taxman0720 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:51 pm

Thefatkitty wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:44 am
Hi taxman0720,

Congrats on the new scope, nice :D

I regularly "shoot the moon" with a DSLR and an 80mm @f/11.4. I agree with all the advice given here as well. I use live mode on the camera, bump the nagnification on that to 10X, and adjust focus along the terminator line.
And I'd have to think that you'd want to limit exposure time depending on the brightness. JMHO.

Stacking might be your friend, really. I took single shots for years, then when I realized I could combine a bunch to bring out all the detail, I never looked back. Trust me, it's not hard (heck, I can do it :lol:) and myself and others here would be more than happy to help you out with the process. Best part, all the software is free...!!

Again, congrats on the scope and hope to see some pics!

All the best,


I guess it is fear of the unknown when it comes to stacking. I will have to make that a winter project and figure it out. What software do you recommend?
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#13

Post by mactech » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:13 pm

Congrats on your new scope taxman. I just got mine two weeks back and learning a lot from the fine members in this forum.

I am in the same boat as you, looking for software to stack images on my Mac.

Look forward to see your images from the 6SE.
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#14

Post by Thefatkitty » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:00 pm

taxman0720 wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:51 pm

I guess it is fear of the unknown when it comes to stacking. I will have to make that a winter project and figure it out. What software do you recommend?
I hear you on that, trust me. The software I use is PIPP, Autostakkert2, Registax or ImPPG, and sometimes GIMP for final tweaking.
Last winter I had started a "tutorial" on how to do this for someone on here, but life threw me a nasty curve ball and that got placed on the back burner. Perhaps I should finish it :D

It at least covers PIPP and Autostakkert; if you'd like to read it, it's here: Lunar Image Processing

All the best,
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#15

Post by Kanadalainen » Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:53 am

Sounds like you've got a great scope!

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Re: Shooting the Moon

#16

Post by Hobbit1066 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:44 pm

what lens do you have for the camera?
i normally shoot the moon with my 70-300 hand held or 150-600 on the tripod.
if i shoot with the scope i have the ISO at 100 and a high shutter speed other wise it appears as a white blob.
try with the camera 1st then head for the scope. if oudoing shots 30 secs is too long for the moon
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#17

Post by OhNo » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:35 am

With your scope being at f/10 and using a DSLR you'll probably not get the full lunar disk. You can take a few overlapping shot and stitch them together with a program like MS ICE (MicroSoft Image Composite Editor).

Grab the best data you can, and get lots of it. Good luck and hope you post your results....
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#18

Post by Baurice » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:15 pm

On exposure times, you need to use a longer exposure if there is haze, the Moon is near the horizon or the phase is small. Also, I'm not sure about the advice about field of view. I have an F12.7 'scope with 1540mm focal length and can still get the full lunar disc in the camera field of view.
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Re: Shooting the Moon

#19

Post by TCampbell » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:22 pm

OhNo wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:35 am
With your scope being at f/10 and using a DSLR you'll probably not get the full lunar disk. You can take a few overlapping shot and stitch them together with a program like MS ICE (MicroSoft Image Composite Editor).

Grab the best data you can, and get lots of it. Good luck and hope you post your results....
I did the math for the field of view and with a 1500mm focal length scope (I think that's right for the Nexstar 6SE) and using an APS-C size sensor DSLR with a 1.6x crop factor (e.g. most Canon models ... Nikon and Sony are 1.5x) the field of view in the narrow direction works out to .57° (34.2 arc-minutes).

The moon is generally around 30 arc-minutes ... but as much as 33 arc-minutes near perigee. This means it'll be a tight-squeeze ... but it should be able to fit into a single image. If the moon is closer to apogee ... you get a little more breathing room.
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