What is my moonshot project about? It is about taking a good picture of the Moon. You may think this is not very ambitious. Try it.

What I want to do is get a full frame image of the moon that I can blow up and put on my wall. I will most likely get images at full and at several phases. (Full moons are less interesting, but more on that later. Besides, during a full moon everyone is busy coping with their lunacy.)

I suppose the seed for this starts with my Dad. A family story tells about a 5 year old version of me sitting with him under the stars and learning the constellations. I apparently never forgave him when we moved far enough away that what I had learned wasn’t right anymore. My Dad also gave me his camera, a Canon FTb, along with the kit he has assembled. Two Vivitar Series 1 lenses, a 35-85mm f2.8 zoom, and Vivitar Series 1 100-300 mm along with a good traveling set of other interesting gear.

This interest in stars stuck with me even though the heavens had shifted, and one of my favorite school trips was to the planetarium for the classic constellation show.

Too my horror, I have discovered recently that planetariums don’t show constellation shows as often.

About a year ago I got a course from a company called the Great Courses called Our Night Sky. The Great Courses get college professors in front of a camera or sometimes just a microphone and have them talk about some subject. The Night Sky is 12 30 minute lectures on the things you can see at night presented by Professor Edward M. Murphy of the University of Virginia.

Professor Murphy suggests, when talking about the moon, that you actually go out and look up at it every night for a month. I recommend this too.

For one thing, it gives you an appreciation of the fact that our calendar months are approximately the amount of time it takes for the moon to go through a whole cycle.

For another, this is a natural wonder accessible to everyone. Even if you live near a city, the moon is so bright, you can see it.

It does take some planning though. For instance you need to find out when the moon is up. I have been using an app for my tablet for this. One specific to phases of the moon, and another that shows you the night sky. The first app is useful to know when the moon will come up. This second app is useful if you don’t know what direction the moon is going to rise from.


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