Super Pink Moon

Moon Stars Milky Way Photography

Moon Stars Milky Way Photography: From time immemorial human beings have been fascinated with heavenly bodies like Sun, Moon, Stars, and the Milkyway. The Solar eclipse, lunar eclipse, and location of stars have been recorded in our scriptures and mythologies. Learning Astronomy/ Space science from the best universities of astronomy might not be possible for everyone. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the history of men on the moon and to have set their foot on the lunar surface as part of NASA’s Apollo 11 mission.

Space exploration has taken a new dimension with missions to Mars, Chandrayaan-2, Hubble Telescope, International Space Station, Astronomical observatories, etc. New Space Discoveries have made Space science & Latest News on space the most sought-after topic. In India the location of Planets, Stars and Constellations are studied for most of the activities in one’s life starting from birth, marriage, death, etc. Moon craters, Lunar surface images, and sensational news received from Rover(Pragyan) and lander(Vikram) of Chandrayaan-2 mission to the moon turned inquisitive minds towards the night sky.

Introduction

As a hobby, Night Photography can open the door to astronomy. One can witness the spectacular world of celestial bodies and record events like Blood Moon, Pink Moon, Meteor Showers, etc. Planets (Venus, Uranus), Jupiter moons, and distant galaxies can be shot with a telescope. With a DSLR one can shoot the Moon,  Milky Way, lunar eclipse, solar eclipse, star trails, light painting, etc.  

Night Photography: Getting Prepared

Carry a sturdy tripod, intervalometer, additional batteries, torches & dress up for prolonged night outdoors. As the Earth spins towards the East, all celestial bodies appear to rise from East and set in the West & Stars appears to revolve around the Pole Star. Plan the shoot prior to reaching the spot, study the location using apps and software. To plan the shoot study moonrise direction, location & alignment of Milky Way, city lights, etc.  

Basic Settings

Use apps like PhotoPills, Google Sky Map, to plan and shoot celestial bodies. Check on the Moon phase, moonrise time and moonset time. Identify a dark place near you, check on the weather. Set the sturdy tripod, hang some weights under it for additional stability. Set the camera with an intervalometer to remotely control the shutter & avoid shakes. Select Manual mode, preferably shoot in RAW for best results and post-processing. For shooting smaller celestial objects like planets & stars ambient light will be less, keep the aperture wide open, ISO below 800 and slow shutter speed.

Moon Stars Milky Way Photography

Super Moon Introduction to the photography of celestial bodies like Moon Stars Milky Way Planets Constellations with DSLR camera on a tripod.
Super Moon

Switch to Manual Mode to cater for the brightness as you zoom into the moon. Keep shutter speed 1/125th of a second, aperture between f/8 and f/11 & ISO to the lowest setting(100).

Moon Stars Milky Way Photography

Milky Way with a Meteor
Milky Way with a Meteor

To capture the Majestic splendor of the Milky Way use a wider lens (17mm or wider), ISO 1600, widest aperture  (close to f/2.8) and shutter speed to 30 seconds. In post-processing stack multiple images for spectacular images.

Moon Stars Milky Way Photography

Star Trails
Star Trails

Locate the pole star if you want to shoot Stars moving around it, focus in live view mode, and focus manually at infinity. Set the widest aperture possible (f/2.8-f/5.6), shutter speed to 30-60 seconds, and to reduce the noise keep ISO lesser than 800. 

 The best option to shoot star trail is to Stack Multiple Exposure during post-processing in lightroom/Photoshop or other star trail software. Calculate camera timings and time between exposures. Lower exposure time between 15 to 30 seconds for about 1 to 2 hours. You may want to take more than 100 exposures at 30 seconds each, with 2 seconds between each shot.

The second method is to take a Single Long Exposure but this induces noise into the image. 

So beat the lockdown blues by meticulously planning a new chapter in your photography, grab your gear, and set out to take spectacular pictures of heavenly bodies.

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