Shooting the Moon


Growing up as a kid my dad was really interested in astronomy. Maybe this is where I get my love for looking at the moon and stars. He liked it so much that he even built his own telescope, which my parents still have in their shed. I love getting it out and looking at the night sky.

The moon may be just a giant chunk of rock revolving around the earth, but it is one of my favorite things to look at. I love the fact that depending on the time of month it looks different, as well as the fact that sometimes you can see it during the day. No matter where you are on the earth, as long as it isn’t cloudy, at some point you can see the moon. I even have jokes with my friends about the moon looking big because of a crazy astronomy professor we had in college.

The moon was also one of my favorite subjects to teach about. Why does it have phases? Why can we only see one side? Why did we send astronauts there? How does it cause the tides? What caused the craters? And of course one kid always asks – is it really made of cheese?

On a crisp winter’s night not long ago Joe and I were visiting my parents. I decided that I wanted to get out the telescope and play with it. After a little convincing my dad caved, and we got it out. We lit a fire in the fire pit, warmed up some hot chocolate, set up the telescope, and were good to go! I finally got the telescope pointed and focused on the moon. It was breathtaking. It is incredible the detail that you can see through a telescope. I can’t fathom how it can magnify the heavens so close that you can actually see them.

This is about the time I came up with a crazy idea. I asked Joe if he could take a picture of the moon through the telescope. Neither of us had any idea if it would work, and the first few pictures were a bust, but he didn’t give up and finally captured this shot. Now I can see the moon as I saw it through my father’s homemade telescope any time I want.