Neil Armstrong passed away this past Saturday at the age of 82. In addition to being the first man to walk on the moon, he was also the first photographer to set foot on that hunk of rock 238,900 miles away. Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin snapped a total of 122 70mm color photographs using modified Hasselblad 500EL cameras during their short visit on July 21, 1969. However, not all of them were pretty.
American Photo magazine writes that the photographic record left by those two men shows a very human picture of that first landing. Some of the “dud” photos show accidental shutter preses, focusing errors, lens flare, and even photobombed landscape shots. Read more…
Reuters photographer Luke MacGregor doesn’t know much about astronomy, but he had the idea recently of photographing the full moon rising up into the Olympic Rings found on London’s Tower Bridge. Armed with a phone app that informed him of moonrise times, he spent two evenings trying and failing to create the photo. Finally, on the third evening, he succeeded:
I readied myself at the predicted angle to the rings. The moon would be rising at 8:50pm and would hit the rings by about 9pm. As the moon had been rising later each evening it had become darker than the previous evenings. I wished I had my tripod. Nonetheless, using the Canon 5D MkIII meant I could push the ISO a little further than I would normally have chosen for a late evening shot. Exactly on time the moon began to show itself over the horizon, a lovely peachy color. I had to keep an eye on a changing exposure, balancing the brightness of the moon with a rapidly darkening sky. As it rose I had to keep moving along, mercilessly pushing tourists out of the way who had stopped to look, in order to keep the moon in line with the rings. Finally, after three days, I had the picture I had been trying to achieve.
What would photographs of the night sky look like if other planets in our solar system replaced the Moon? This beautiful video by 3kingAmazing (remixed using a video by Brad Goodspeed) shows the answer.
New photographs of the moon by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera reveal that flags planted by Apollo astronauts are still “flying” after more than four decades. Each of the six manned Apollo missions planted flags at their landing sites, and it now appears that all but one — the flag planted by Neil Armstrong was blown over upon their departure — are still standing. The photographs were taken at different times of the day, and show small shadows rotating around the locations where the flags were planted.
What the flags look like, however, is a different question: they’ve probably experienced a good deal of deterioration due to the ultraviolet light and temperatures found on the surface of the moon.
Astrophotographer Laurent Laveder has a delightful series of photographs titled Moon Games that feature creative photographs shot as the moon hangs low over a hill. Laveder’s subjects play with the moon as if it’s a glowing sphere here on Earth. In one shot it’s a reading lamp, and in another it’s a framed art piece waiting to be hung. The photos are sure to make you want to find your own hill so you can play with the moon yourself! Read more…
There’s an abandoned McDonalds in California that’s stuffed with 48,000 pounds of 70mm tape. These tapes contain never-before-seen ultra-high-res photographs of the moon shot by the Lunar Orbiter project 40 years ago. Rather than ship the film back to Earth, scientists decided to scan them on the spaceship, beam them back losslessly, and then record the data onto magnetic tape. Not wanting to reveal the precision of its spy satellites, the US government decided to mark the images as classified. Read more…
Since November 2011 I’d been thinking about an astrophotography project: take a photo of the moon each day from full moon to full moon, then combine it into a seamless movie that looks as if someone had moved the sun around the moon for one minute. I found similar videos, but most were simulations done in software, or photographic ones that weren’t very smooth. Seemed simple enough, mostly because I didn’t see the complications that would come along with this project caused by… physics.
My plan involved setting the same exposure each night starting with the full moon, and let the moon’s dark side gradually move across its face while the lit side stayed about the same brightness. Adjust the photos’ angles to match each other, throw all of them into Final Cut Pro X and add cross dissolve transitions between them, and I’d get a smooth movie showing every phase of the moon. Read more…
Photographer Isaac Gutiérrez Pascual of Spain shot this beautiful photograph of the sky that contains four different subjects: birds, clouds, the Moon, and Venus. It was shot using a Canon 5D and a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens. NASA writes,
[...] a crescent Moon and the planet Venus, on the far right, were captured during sunset posing against a deep blue sky. In the foreground, dark storm clouds loom across the image bottom, while a white anvil cloud shape appears above. Black specks dot the frame, caused by a flock of birds taking flight. Very soon after this picture was taken, however, the birds passed by, the storm ended, and Venus and the Moon set.
This past Sunday, Jupiter and Venus put on a show by lining up with our moon (a conjunction). Rick Ellis of Toronto, Canada managed to create the awesome photo of the event seen above by capturing 31 separate frames. Each photo was taken 5 minute apart and had an exposure time of 5 seconds.