Draper was a doctor, scientist and photographer who studied photochemistry to come up with better ways to take pictures. Before Draper photographed the moon, another photographer Louis Daguerre had tried to do the same, but his image came out fuzzy.
Capturing the moon in a so-called daguerreotype image involved long exposures, and Daguerre had some technical difficulties while tracking the moon’s movement with his telescope. Draper’s first successful photo also took several tries. He took a 20-minute exposure with a 5-inch telescope to create a daguerreotype of the moon, and he publicly announced his results on March 23.