Using astrophotography to photograph the moon presents several challenges. First, you are generally trying to set up and use your equipment at night, making it very difficult to control your camera and the telescope. A red flashlight, used by astronomers, works very well, but it is still not very easy to see what you are doing. As much as possible, have everything set up before getting started.
The other problem is that the moon is basically a big mirror. You are literally trying to capture the light of the sun as it reflects off the moon. So controlling the exposure is critical.
Technically, there are two methods of astrophotography and photographing the moon with your telescope. The first method is called the “afocal method." In this method, you set up your telescope to view the moon, then you set up your camera to capture the image through the camera’s lens, focused on the eyepiece of the telescope. There are a number of problems with this method. First, both the camera and the telescope must be on their own tripod. Even the slightest vibration will ruin the shot and getting the camera lens and telescope eyepiece lined up perfectly will take a lot of time and patience. Second, you can’t use your auto-metering functions and will have to experiment and bracket in order to determine the correct exposure time.
The easier and more common method of astrophotography is called the “prime focus" method. This calls for the use of adapters that allow you to connect your camera body directly to the telescope. In my case, I used a Meade ETX 70 Schmidt-Cassegrain type telescope and a Nikon D80 SLR. Even this method requires caution because you have to purchase two different adapters. You will need a “T-Mount" and a “T-Ring Adapter." Be sure to check with your photography supply shop as each camera and each telescope requires specific adapters.
The “T-Mount" goes on the end of the telescope. You leave the cap in place where the eyepiece would normally go as you won’t be using it. There is a little switch that moves the mirror out of the way so you get a straight through line of site. The “T-Ring Adapter" goes on the camera body and allows the body to attach to the telescope.
This is where you have to be really careful. It is very easy to over tighten these adapters, just as it is easy to not tighten them enough. You need to make sure you have a solid, but releasable connection. When you are attaching the T-Ring adapter to your camera, and the camera to the telescope, your CCD is basically unprotected. This is another reason to set up indoors in a clean environment rather than fumbling with the connections in the dark.