Armed with a cheap DSLR and a Celestron 8SE, I headed out in my front yard to take a stab at astrophotography. I figured a total lunar eclipse was a good way to finally get started with it. Yeah, I instantly regretted not learning all the ins and outs on a warmer night. Fiddling with camera settings with the wind chill in the teens wasn’t fun.

But after a few minutes, I snapped a picture of the moon that showed I was on the right track. The focus wasn’t perfect, but I liked it. Here’s the moon a few minutes after the partial lunar eclipse began.

I ran back inside to warm up and catch another episode of The Punisher as I waited for the total lunar eclipse to start.

About five minutes before totality was set to begin, I headed back outside. It was a little eerie not seeing the frosty grass shining in the moonlight. I looked up and saw a slice of the moon starting to turn a coppery red. It doesn’t come close to topping the solar eclipse from 2017, but it was still an awesome moment. And worth the cold breeze slicing through me like a knife.

I ran over to my telescope, hooked up my Nikon and started taking pictures. After messing with the camera settings one more time, I snapped this.

Here are the settings I used:

Camera: Nikon D3300

ISO: 6400

Exposure: ⅙ sec

I had it hooked straight into the telescope via a T-ring (no lens attached).

Both the camera and the telescope aren’t ideal for astrophotography (especially deep space), but it worked like a charm last night. Now I’m surfing Amazon and astrophotography forums for the best equipment and techniques for shooting the night sky. The astrophotography bug has bitten me.

I can’t wait for the moon to go away so I can try shooting Jupiter and Saturn.

Missed last night’s eclipse? You’ll have to wait until 2021 to get another chance at seeing a total lunar eclipse. I’m waiting for the next total solar eclipse in the U.S. in 2024. After catching it with the naked eye in 2017, I’ll be taking a road trip with my telescope for this one.

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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