My first astrophotographs!

So last night, after a week of rain and clouds and wind and flooding, the evening cleared up and I decided to try some more stargazing. My usual spot, the local football ground, was wet and muddy and squishy underfoot – not ideal. Even worse, it was covered by a thick but rapidly moving blanket of cloud. I decided to try my luck elsewhere and head north, away from the clouds.

Before long I found a possibly suitable cricket ground, but before I was able to park and have a look around, I got a creepy feeling about the car following me. Turns out they were police, and they pulled me over to ask why I was driving slowly around a park late at night. They were impressed by my telescope (and my XKCD “Science: It Works, Bitches” T-shirt) and recommended a nearby National Park to try. They even very kindly gave me a police escort to it!

So from the carpark I had a good solid flat ground to set up my telescope and good dark sky to look at. The moon was very bright, which made viewing other objects a bit harder, but I was still able to get a good look at Jupiter and I knew the moon would be setting in an hour or two in anyway. I decided to make the most of it and get some photos of the moon.

I’m just starting out in astronomy and certainly not ready to spend big money on fancy equipment like digital SLR cameras just yet. Some people spend tens of thousands on So I’m using a Celestron Solar System Imager which is essentially just a webcam that fits in a telescope eyepiece. It’s good enough for bright objects like planets in our solar system. I ended up taking 3 photos of the barren, unforgiving moon but unfortunately I somehow managed to overwrite the best one. So I’m left with these two, which are alright in my opinion, but nothing great. The photo I deleted showed a much larger portion of the moon, with many more craters and the maria – or seas – visible.

Not to worry, though. There’ll be plenty more opportunities to come!