iPhone Moon

Despite numerous attempts, I had never managed a decent shot of the Moon using an iPhone. When showing people how to do afocal photography, I have leaned how to make just about any compact camera perform nicely, but routinely seen nothing but trouble with cell phone cameras.

Lunar photography is incredibly popular with folks using the telescope, a great activity for a night with a bright moon. Long ago I found that an inexpensive 20-25mm Plössl is a good match for the lens of most compact cameras. On a 1-2m focal length telescope this combination can produce very nice lunar photos. The setup does not work with cell phone cameras. Though people do try, the results have been routinely disappointing.

Working a resort star party recently, I discovered a combination of telescope and eyepieces that works very well. A C11 telescope, an f/6.3 focal reducer, and a 20mm Nagler type 2 eyepiece produced very nice photographs with several different cell phone cameras. The result was a very happy audience and a lot of great lunar photos. As people walked away from the telescope they were rapidly replaced by a crowd holding glowing screens, all wanting to get a nice lunar shot for themselves. I will have to explore other telescope/eyepiece combinations to find another solution that does not involve a $500 eyepiece.

iPhone Moon
An eleven day old Moon, taken with an iPhone 3GS, a C11 and a 20mm Nagler 2 eyepiece

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

One thought on “iPhone Moon”

  1. The problem with automatic is the camera will use a slow shutter speed because it’s dark out and then the moon comes out blurry.Your camera should have a setting for shutter priority’ that will let you choose a shutter speed of 1/125 or 1/250 without going completely manual. Set your ISO at 100 and let the camera do the rest.There is no one correct setting. I just play around with it and if I take enough photos, one of them comes out nice.

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