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Monday, August 20, 2007


Mobile Moon

This has been a bit of a week, and a bit of a weekend. I've been rushing to finalise my (overdue) Sky&Space contribution, in between dealing with urgent work stuff and deceased laptops. Then Friday a friend took sick and we did a bit of emergency baby sitting. Saturday was the Bettdeckererschnappender weisles turn to come down with something, so I haven't finished my article yet.

But I did finally receive a cable release for my SLR camera. Inspired by the Oliphant Science Awards where we saw my niece's time machine, I decided to try it out.

It was then that I discovered that the T-adaptor that worked so well with the 4" scope has the wrong focal length for the 8" scope. That means I can't get the Moon in focus with my current setup, so I have to get another T adaptor (sighs expressively).

But the Moon was bright, and it was the best weather for days, so I grabbed the mobile phone and did a bit of experimenting. The images you see are the mobile shooting through 30 mm, 12.5 mm and 6.5 mm lenses (click on the images to enlarge them). The 30mm lens gives us the whole Moon, but is vastly over exposed. The 12.5 mm is best, giving reasonable detail, and good exposure (I have applied a light unsharp mask to the image, but it is otherwise untouched), but the full image of the Moon doesn't get in the frame. The 6.5 mm has good magnification, not so bad exposure, but is significantly blurred (and this is the best of a series of shots, the others were very, very bad).

The problem with the higher magnification is keeping the blasted phone still while taking a picture, holding the camera to the lens, I found that the thing wobbled with my heart beat! I tried attaching the phone to the scope with rubber bands. This worked in the sense that the image was stable. But when I tried to press the button to take the image, no matter how carefully, I always moved the phone. The button is significantly off axis, and is not supported by a piece of telescope, and so must wobble when pressed.

I will think more about this, and see if I can come up with a solution.

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