When the first photo of the moon appeared

When the first photo of the moon appeared

To take a picture of the moon today, you just need to turn on the camera on your mobile phone. But who is considered the author of the first picture of the earth satellite?

Technological miracle!

When the first photo of the moon appeared

The authorship of the darregotype of the Moon, created in March 1840, is attributed to John Draper.

The first primitive and bulky cameras appeared in 1826. However, it was rumored that the photograph of the moon (blurred and in poor quality) was obtained in 1822. Moreover, it was almost the very first photo in the world, but it could not be saved, so the official first frame was the picture “The View from the Window at Le Gras” (1826, written by Nicesefor Niepce).

The moon is the most accessible space object to view, because it is close to the Earth, it is visible in the night sky, and during its review it is not necessary to use protective filters (as for the Sun). However, the first photographers could not create methods of capturing shadow and light to convey the image in the picture.

First Astrophotographer

When the first photo of the moon appeared

One of the first photographs of the moon, taken by John William Draper in New York (1840).

The revolution in this regard was made by John William Draper. This is a famous British chemist, physicist, philosopher and professor. He was interested in studies of photosensitive materials. In 1839, he learned about the experiences of Louis Daguerre (one of the creators of photography). Draper wanted to improve Drager’s methods, trying to increase the sensitivity of the photographic plate and reduce the exposure time. This allowed the emergence of such a phenomenon as “portrait shooting” and get the first frame of the moon.

Unexpected luck

When the first photo of the moon appeared

Photograph of the Moon, taken by Henry Draper in 1863

The first attempts to photograph the moon Draper was undertaken in the 1839-1840s, using equipment at an observatory located on the roof of the university in New York. However, the pictures were blurred or illuminated. But on March 23, 1840, he managed to get the first focused image of the moon.

John Draper managed to show a snapshot at a conference. But the original itself burned in a fire, so most often you can find an image taken after 3 days or a few months. More precisely, there are many such frames, because Draper continued to photograph the Moon until the end of his days.


The love for the moon photos was passed on to Draper’s son, Henry, who would later build his own laboratory. Interestingly, on September 3, 1863, Henry Draper will create one of the best shots of the moon, and later he will be the first to photograph the Orion Nebula.

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