Today, July 16th, 50 years ago Apollo 11 blasted off taking Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the Moon. What an amazing achievement. There are plenty of programmes on television and radio (as well as articles on the internet) and events too, to celebrate this historic event.
Today also is a partial Lunar eclipse too! For those that are interested in viewing or photographing it here are some approximate (BST) timings and information (exact timing will depend on location):
- Penumbral Eclipse begins 19:43h – the Moon is below the horizon
- Partial Eclipse begins 21:01h – the Moon is still below the horizon!
- Moon rises in eclipse at ~2105h
- Maximum partial eclipse 22:30h
- Partial Eclipse ends 23:59h
- Penumbral Eclipse ends 00:17h
For more information on this eclipse see:
Last week, in preparation for the eclipse I had the chance (i.e. clear skies) to use a grab-and-go small aperture APO refractor with the work’s smartphone and a Celestron NexYZ smartphone adaptor and Baader Hyperion 8-24mm zoom eyepiece. I set the telescope up on a simple lightweight alt-az mount, attached the NexYZ+Baader Hyperion Zoom+smarpthone and pointed it to the Moon. The Moon was very low and the only location I could set the equipment up was right up against the garden fence panels with the tripod fully extended. This was not the most convenient of locations and also made viewing the smartphone screen difficult. As the telescope had a short focal length, I used some digital zooming to get “a little closer” to the Moon.
The first few shots were blurred due to tripod/telescope “wobble”. However the smartphone camera has a timer setting, so I set that timer to 5 seconds. The camera software also takes 2 additional exposures a second or two after the first exposure in case any vibration has not stopped. The first few images came out OK but the smartphone camera needed some re-positioning for best image capture. This is very simple to do with NexYZ using the 2 knobs on the back for X-Y/left-right movement, and the knob near the top of the unit for Z-movement (towards/away) from the eyepiece lens. For more information on the NexYZ see our “closer look” blog here.Once the adjustments were done taking the images was simple and all the ones that were captured came out quite well given the equipment and setup (and location!). The photos below are some results from this first “try”.
Don’t forget with the partial Lunar eclipse you too can take great photos with your smartphone. Its difficult to try and get the camera lined up and spaced correctly with your telescope’s eyepiece, but that why Celestron’s NexYZ is a really great accessory. It makes smartphone imaging so much easier!