Have you ever taken a picture of the moon and it winds up looking nothing like what you see with your eyes, and instead just a blurry white dot in a dark sky?

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You might think a foray into astrophotography is a large undertaking, but getting started is really simple. Here's how we began taking seriously Instagram-worthy moon pics.

To get images like these, we used a telescope and an adapter that lets you center your phone's camera over the eyepiece of whatever type of scope you're using (you can even use these adapters for binoculars, spotting scopes, and microscopes).

We got a great deal on our telescope during a Prime Day sale two years ago. Here's what we use. You can get into a great piece of equipment for around $200 or less. Having a telescope is a great way to unlock the magic of stargazing -- I know we really fell in love with astronomy the first time we saw Saturn's rings for ourselves from the backyard.

There's a variety of phone adapters available, but here are the two we've used and had good results with. They both operate on the same principle -- giving you the ability to tilt and move your phone up and down to line up with your telescope's eyepiece.

The Gosky Universal Cell Phone Adapter Mount will work for a variety of different diameter eyepieces, but can be difficult to line up just right. However, there's a plethora of helper videos on YouTube that can save you lots of time experimenting. You can pick this up from Amazon for $18.50.

Credit: Amazon/Gosky

If you're using a telescope with a fixed diameter eyepiece (most are 1.25" or 2"), or if you only have one scope you'd be taking pictures with and don't need the flexibility of the clamp-style mount, you might want to try the Gosky 1.25" Telescope Phone Adapter. It's a little more expensive ($29.99 at Amazon), but you'll save tons of time getting the right alignment with your telescope. The mount goes right onto your eyepiece, and includes a Barlow lens, which will increase the magnification of your telescope.

Credit: Amazon/Gosky

If the lack of places to go this summer means you're trying to make your backyard a bit more exciting, don't be intimidated to try stargazing and astrophotography.

The app Star Walk 2 makes it easy to figure out what is visible in the sky, and where to point your telescope. The app is really cool, you just hold your phone up to the sky, and a real-time map of the stars shows up. It's available for both iOS and Android devices in a free version with ads, or paid (without ads).

Credit: Star Walk 2/Vito Technology Inc.

Keep up with other stargazing Western New Yorkers with the Buffalo Astronomical Association. They often host public nights where anyone interested can learn more about astronomy in a totally not-intimidating way, however all current events are on hold due to the coronavirus. But, you can keep up with them virtually. Click here to find the BAA on Facebook.


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