Huawei: patent to take the best pictures of the Moon

Huawei has patented a system that uses artificial intelligence to take perfect pictures of the Moon. Here's how it works

How many times have you looked up in the sky at night and seen a beautiful full Moon? How many times have you picked up your smartphone to photograph it? How many times did the photo come out decent? The answer to the first two questions is "often," the answer to the third question is "never." Unless your smartphone is a Huawei P30 Pro.

The Chinese manufacturer has in fact integrated in its 2019 flagship smartphone a specific feature to photograph the moon and chose to publish precisely a photo of our satellite as the first shot taken with the camera of the P30 Pro. Shortly after it was discovered that in the "Moon Mode" of the Huawei P30 there is a half trick: it is not a 100% real photo, because the artificial intelligence reconstructs part of the image, which is therefore manipulated. Now, however, a patent pops up that could change things.

Photo of the Moon: the Huawei patent

From China comes news of a patent registered by Huawei, number 201910134047.X dated February 22, 2019, with a very explicit title: "Method and electronic device for photographing the Moon". The patent predates the launch of the P30 Pro on March 26, but it is unknown whether the smartphone currently on the market integrates this technology. So, if it's not already in the P30 Pro, this new shooting mode could soon come to us with a future software update.

Huawei's Moon Mode: How it works

The technology described in Huawei's patent is actually not that complex: the smartphone, via artificial intelligence, recognizes when we're pointing the lens at the moon and automatically activates the ad hoc mode. It then takes a burst of photos with different exposures, all with autofocus on the Moon. These images are then processed into one to achieve what is impossible with other smartphones: the Moon in sharp focus, with sharp outlines and no halo surrounding it.

Why is it so difficult to photograph the Moon

With an ordinary smartphone, but also with a good digital camera, it is very difficult to photograph the satellite. For several reasons. The first is the distance: the Moon is 384,400 km from Earth, so even a good telephoto lens has difficulty in "getting close" (to photograph the moon with a DSLR is recommended a zoom of at least 300 mm). Then it is bright, even if the Moon does not shine with its own light, so the photo invariably captures a halo of light around the lunar disk. Finally, it is shrouded in the darkness of the universe, and the difference between darkness and light only increases the halo around the Moon. Finally, albeit slowly, the Moon moves (as does our hand while framing it) and this throws off most optical and digital stabilizers.