Astronomy 1010 Lunar Observation
Georgia State University, Spring 2006


It is very hard for an ordinary digital camera to cope with the lighting conditions for photographing the Moon.  With mine, you can adjust the exposure a little manually, but you can't do manual focus, so you're not in good control.  The bright Moon against the black background gives the camera software fits (overexposure causes blur, lens flares), but with just a little light in the sky, the automatic focus and exposure does better than manual.  Adjusting brightness and contrast with Photoshop can bring out some details in the final image.

All of the following images were taken with a 3x zoom.

Must use tripod!
 


Waxing Crescent
31Jan2006
7:14 PM
Elevation: 16.5° (Western Sky)
FUJIFILM A340
Clear
Must have a tripod!
Auto Exposure
Adjustments to brightness and contrast using Photoshop, amounts not recorded.

1st Quarter
05Feb2006
12:00 Midnight (coincidence!)
Elevation: 26° (Western Sky)
FUJIFILM A340
Overcast
Manual Exposure: -1.8
Photoshop: Brightness: -21
Overexposure blurs edges, makes disk look larger.

Waxing Gibbous
09Feb2006
5:15 PM
Elevation: 24° (Eastern Sky)
FUJIFILM A340
Clear
Auto Exposure
Using Photoshop, decreasing brightness (-55) and increasing contrast (+55) brings up lunar surface detail.

Full
12Feb2006
6:45 PM
Elevation: 7.5° (Eastern Sky)
FUJIFILM A340
Clear
Auto Exposure
Tree branches in foreground.
Cropped, not otherwise adjusted.
(see wide shot directly below)

Waning Gibbous
16Feb2006
10.49 PM
Elevation: 12.5° (Eastern Sky)
FUJIFILM A340
Clear
Manual Exposure: -2.1
Photoshop: Brightness: -83
Contrast: +35
Tree branches show as dark areas along upper curve.

3rd Quarter
22Mar2006
6:49 AM
Elevation: 26° (Due South?)
FUJIFILM A340
Overcast
Auto Exposure
Cropped, not otherwise adjusted.
Had to wait for cloud openings.

Altering brightness and contrast (-30/+50) shows additional surface detail, but makes the sky look darker.

Waning Crescent
24Feb2006
6:22 AM
13.5° (Eastern Sky)
FUJIFILM A340
Partly Cloudy
Auto Exposure
Cropped, not otherwise adjusted.

24Feb2006
7:18 AM
19.5° (Eastern Sky)
FUGIFILM A340
Partly Cloudy
Auto Exposure
Photoshop: Cropped, Contrast +50

Full Moon Over Iverson St.
12Feb2006
Looking east along Iverson.  In the foreground, rear windshield of a parked car.  Moon shows between trees lining the street.  Bright street lights and Moon both show long, up-and-down "flares" from camera optics.  Had to wait for cloud openings.
Used Autolevels adjustment on Photoshop.