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Dance of light and shadow – deep dive into lunar photography

When it comes to delving into the realm of lunar photography, beginners often find themselves captivated by the wonders of capturing the moon through a telescope. With its prominent presence in the night sky, locating the moon within your scope is a straightforward endeavor. Even systems with small apertures can unveil a surprising array of intricate details. However, what if you yearn to specialize in the art of lunar photography, seeking the ultimate resolution and detail?

In this enlightening article, we dive into the realm of lunar photography and gain valuable insights from a true master of the craft, Ari Haavisto. With a profound passion for his art, Haavisto has been capturing the mesmerizing details of the moon since the 1990s, refining his skills and techniques along the way. So embark on this celestial voyage with us and discover the intricate world that awaits you beyond the telescope, and unlock the secrets to immortalizing the moon's captivating allure through your telescope.


The Moon, Earth's closest celestial neighbor, has been a source of fascination for centuries, captivating both professional astronomers and amateur stargazers alike. With advancements in technology and the accessibility of powerful digital cameras, capturing stunning lunar images has become an exciting and rewarding pursuit for amateur astronomers. To embark on your lunar astrophotography journey, you'll need some essential equipment. A sturdy tripod is crucial to ensure stability and eliminate camera shake during your shooting session. A camera with manual controls, such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera can suffice but for optimal results you want to shoot video with as high frame-rate as possible through a telescope. For this application dedicated astronomy cameras work the best. This way one can capture the calmest moments of athmospheric seeing and stack them in post-processing to reveal even more intricate detail.

Before heading out to photograph the Moon, check the lunar calendar to determine the phase and time of its appearance. Full moons may be captivating to the naked eye, but they often wash out surface details due to the lack of shadows in the lunar surface. Instead seek for a night when moon is not illuminated completely and point your telescope to the terminator line to capture the ethereal dance of light and shadow.

Tips for Success:

• Experiment with various focal lengths and optical systems to discover the best combination for your desired results. This will allow you to capture different perspectives and enhance your imaging capabilities.

• Utilize a dedicated astronomy camera for close-up shots, ensuring it has a high frames-per-second (FPS) rate. This will enable you to capture clear and detailed images of the lunar surface.

• Prior to beginning your imaging session, allow your telescope to cool down to the ambient temperature. This helps to minimize the impact of thermal currents within the telescope, resulting in sharper and more focused images.

• Opt for large aperture telescopes when possible, as they reveal more intricate details of the lunar surface compared to smaller ones, enhancing the overall image quality.

• Recognize that different nights offer varying seeing conditions, with some nights providing calmer atmospheres for capturing images. Exercise patience and take advantage of these moments to capture the best possible shots. Remember, patience is key in lunar photography.

Scientific contribution:

Lunar photographers have a unique opportunity to engage in scientific observations as well. With a stroke of luck, one might even witness a meteorite impact on the lunar surface. Unlike our Earth, our celestial neighbor lacks a protective atmosphere, causing meteorites to directly crash onto the moon's surface, creating a captivating burst of bright light. To increase the chances of capturing such a remarkable event, monitoring the dark side of the moon is essential. This is because sunlight on the illuminated side could potentially wash away the visibility of such an occurrence.