The Moon - Being Creative with our Bright Satellite

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

In addition to light pollution, clouds and winds, the Moon is also one of our worst enemies. We do not like the Moon because it is up in the sky during half of every month, meaning that we can only image Deep Sky Objects, what we care the most about, half of the year.

The difference between the Moon and our other enemies listed above, is that we can create something out of it. This post will be updated over time with ideas we came up with to make the best out of the our bright Satellite.

I - Phases of the Moon Panorama over Las Vegas

Featured on UniverseToday's Instagram on 08/2016.

A 3-month long project.

At the time, all I had was a pair of binoculars, a tripod, and a point and shoot camera.

During this project, there were days the clouds were hiding the moon and I had to wait a full month to photograph a certain phase.

About half of those moon shots were taken by taking hundreds of pictures with that cheap camera, through the binoculars. The rest was taken with a DSLR Camera (t3i) with a 300mm lens on a tripod. 

Once all the Moons I wanted were captured, I spent hours placing them on a grid so that they would all be the same distance from each other. That was trickier than it sounds, because there is a difference between placing a full moon, and placing a small croissant of a moon.

The last step was to find the perfect fore/background. I had to idea what I wanted until I was driving home from our usual imaging spot in the desert and realized that the view of Las Vegas from far is perfect!

My wife, her friend Rosa, and I, stopped by the side of the freeway, which felt dangerous with cars and trucks passing by so fast, so that I could try to take the perfect photo as fast as possible.

I mounted the t3i on a tripod, took a couple shots super quick, hoping the focus was good, and we left.

Then this panorama was born.

Oh, and it looks awesome printed on Metal, see HERE.

II - Mapping all the manned Apollo Landings

When filming Episode 7 of Galactic Hunter, which is about the Moon, we used maps of all the Apollo Landings found online to help us write a part of the Episode. There are several similar maps already done, even NASA has one, but we wanted to make our own.

The photo of the Moon was taken during the filming of the Episode. The photos of each Apollo missions were taken during, well, the missions, by the astronauts themselves.

I wanted to make the final image beautiful to look at, clear, and with the name of the Mission, the insignia, the date and the landing zone included, without making a mess! After a few trial & error, this is what the result looks like. We hope it will help people over time!

Interested in a Print? Click HERE.

III - Moon Halo over the Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada

Featured on UniverseToday's Instagram on 11/17/2017.

On Christmas Eve, 2016, I stepped outside and saw this pretty rare Moon halo. I took a picture of it and let the file on my computer, not knowing what to do with it.

Fast forward several months later, Dalia & I decide to go visit the Seven Magic Mountains, a 30 minutes drive from Las Vegas. The photo was cool but, it wasn't very impressive to look at. I randomly stumbled upon the Moon Halo picture while recording an off-series episode on Galactic Hunter, and thought it would be the perfect fit for this piece of art.

I was really pleased with the result, those painted rocks, sitting in the desert, illuminated by a full Moon and its rare halo, gives it a very mystical effect.

You can see this photo in better quality HERE.

IV - Moonrise over the Grand Canyon

Our moon, rising above the cold and dark Grand Canyon South Rim.

V - The "Moon Nebula"

T'was a cloudy night, a bright full moon, and a thirst to do astrophotography. This is the full moon reflecting light against the surrounding clouds. Two shots were taken for this, one very short exposure to get all the details in the moon itself (but the clouds were barely visible) and a slightly longer one to capture the clouds.

We call it "Moon Nebula" because it kind of looks like the clouds are blue gases, and remind us of the Iris Nebula.

VI - The Moon overwhelmed by Fireworks

July 4th, 2020, Las Vegas

The 4th of July in Las Vegas is.... pretty bright and loud. From our backyard, we could see fireworks exploding in all directions, including where the rising moon was!

With our tripod, Canon 7D Mark II and Canon EF 55-250mm lens, I took a picture of the moon, and realized that none of the fireworks were visible because of the fast exposure time. I quickly changed my exposure time to something a little longer and also made the aperture wide open (f/5.6 at 250mm) then quickly took a second image. This one showed the fireworks but the moon was all blown out.

Using Photoshop, I simply overlapped both layered into one and the result is visible on the image below! Pretty cool no?

VII - A Close-up on the Moon with a planetary camera

September 4th, 2020, Las Vegas

We have been doing Astrophotography for more than 5 years now, and we have never attempted to capture the moon with an astronomy-dedicated camera before!

Using our Orion 8" Astrograph and the QHY462C planetary camera, we spent a night in the backyard randomly shooting the moon to see what kind of result we could get.

This was our very first time using a planetary camera, meaning it was also our first time processing planetary data!

Below is the result of that very first try. This is what the moon looks like, uncropped, with this telescope and camera combo.

Make sure to watch our video on YouTube to see how we imaged the moon, as well as Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter!

Simply the Moon

All the phases of the Moon

Galactic Hunter Ep#7: The Moon: Viewing and Imaging our natural satellite

Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter

Get our guide to all the best Astrophotography Targets: The Astrophotographer's Guidebook

Description: Discover 60 Deep Sky Objectsthat will considerably improve your Imagingand Processing skills! Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced astrophotographer, this detailed book of the best deep sky objects will serve as a personal guide for years to come! Discover which star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are the easiest and most impressive to photograph for each season. Learn how to find each object in the night sky, and read our recommendations on imaging them in a quick and comprehensive way. Each target in this guide contains our advice on imaging, photos of expected results, and a useful information table. We've also included a few cool facts about each target, a map to find it in the night sky, and more!

#moon #lunar

2,345 views1 comment


Quick Links

Social Media

  • Galactic Hunter Facebook
  • Galactic Hunter YouTube
  • Galactic Hunter Instagram
  • Galactic Hunter Amazon
  • Galactic Hunter Flickr
  • Galactic Hunter Twitter


  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Flickr Social Icon

© 2016-2020 by Antoine Grelin.