Moon Quotes (866 quotes)
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Several times over the past month I've seen people in the comments section here asking why stars aren't visible in photos taken from the International Space Station, from the space shuttle, or from lunar satellites. This objection is one of the prime issues raised by people who claim to believe the original moon landings were hoaxes. But put that aside — it's a valid question, and remains a puzzling one for many who are unfamiliar with the details. The answer turns out to be simple. On Earth we're used to seeing stars brilliantly dot the nighttime sky, and in space, the sky always appears black as night. But the analogy turns out not to hold. Our daytime sky is bright because of the diffusion of light through the atmosphere.
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There are very few things that confuse beginner photographers more than the moon and the stars. Mastering both via trial and error will teach you valuable lessons about light and how your camera works. When you point your camera at the moon in any mode but Manual mode, your camera does what it does for every image: it measures the light in the scene and automatically chooses a variety of settings for you. The camera chooses settings that would be appropriate for a scene that has an amount of light somewhere between the moon and the dark sky. As a result, the moon ends up looking really much brighter than it should which is why the moon often looks like a big white blob in most shots taken by beginners. These settings will most likely NOT work; these settings are just a starting point.