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Smartphone Astrophotography

astrophotography imaging equipment
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#601 GeezerGazer

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 02:02 AM

Those views are amazing. It makes me long for NV!

 

Man, if you’re considering an SCT and fast F ratio is important, you should seek out one of the old Meade LX-200 10” scopes that were offered at F/6.3! I’ll bet that thing paired with NV would let you see the Big Bang from NYC!

LOL!   Well, not quite.  NV does have it's limitations.  But for amateur astronomy it certainly opens windows of opportunity.  And, in H-a, NV reveals some things that any amateur scope using a glass eyepiece cannot see at all in real time... things that are otherwise only seen in long exposure AP.  To see the size of Barnard's Loop and the Angel Fish together in Orion real time can take your breath away.  The other really wonderful attribute of NV is that it gives a wholly different perspective of how our galaxy is put together... how and where things fit.  I say this because at 1x we see a 40° circle of sky, which is big enough to show the N. American, Pelican, Gamma Cygni, Veil and Crescent Nebular complex in a single FoV.  When I look S. in the summer toward the center of our galaxy and scan the Milky Way, I see a vast ocean of nebulae, seemingly all connected.  What I always thought were small, individual nebula often are not... nebulosity connects vast fields of H-a within our M.W... and I am fortunate enough to see it in real time observing.  As an example, the image below was taken using an old 50mm Nikon as a prime lens at f:1.4 attached to my NVD with a 7nm H-a filter, ISO 80, 1/2s for 8s.  This image is at 2x and encompasses 20° of sky.  All of that cloudy appearance in the image is H-a.  The N. American and Pelican are often imaged in this complex, but look how vast the complex really is! Seeing this makes it easier to understand where sufficient quantity of Hydrogen exists to coalesce into stars... it's a visceral kind of astronomy experience.  

 

And, to keep this post on topic, the image was taken with my iPhone 6+ which had only an 8mp sensor.  My XR has a 12mp sensor and slightly better low light capability.  IIRC, the Huawei P20 has a 20mp sensor!  Let me repeat, phone camera capability is only getting better! 

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#602 diegomesa91

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 02:21 AM

Thank you Thomas, but it's not me... it's the technology!  And it is going to continue to improve.  

 

 

 

Yes, the software/apps for iOS and Android are distinctly different and offer different solutions to the same problem.  A friend of mine in the EAA forum, Gavster in London, UK, uses a Huawei P20 Pro which is Android.  It allows manual control of camera settings out of the box and provides for a single exposure up to 32 seconds, which is more than ample time for a NV image.  When imaging with it, you can watch the image build during the single, long exposure, just like on most current DSLR cameras.  But iOS, in my iPhone XR, does not allow for some of the settings to be set manually, and the longest auto mode exposure is 1 second.  To control all settings manually on our iPhones, most of us use NightCap, a 3rd party app that has been discussed in this thread.  iOS/iPhone programming does not allow for an exposure time (shutter) that exceeds the limitations imposed by Apple.  And, for some reason, Apple has also not permitted manual use of the increased shutter exposure (1s up from 1/2s) by 3rd party application vendors.  So reality is that all of the new iPhones are limited to a 1/2s exposure in manual mode, using NightCap.  But the NightCap application is capable of averaging several images and the amount of time that the averaging process takes is set by the user, manually.  So in the example above, I set the exposure at 1/3s and the averaging (in Long Exposure Mode) was set for 10s... so roughly 30 exposures were automatically taken and averaged within the phone during the exposure process.  At the end of 10s, the image is complete, and like the single long exposure in Android, you can watch the image build on the iPhone during the exposure.  

 

Both Android and iOS provide for in-phone editing and I use that as my only means of post processing, usually adjusting brightness or increasing contrast.  But I also use two of the digital filters in the iOS editing program, Vivid and Dramatic.  These two filters are just a one-click procedure, but I have found that one or the other is often all I need to enhance the original image for an improved rendition.  My post processing is very rudimentary and usually only takes me 2-3 seconds to complete on the phone before I move on to the next image.  It takes me longer (4 clicks) to re-size the image to a square, than it takes to adjust the brightness or contrast if needed (2 clicks).  

 

The NightCap averaging algorithms for building a photo is often referred to as one that "stacks" photos, but it is technically not stacking the photos.  The terms averaging and stacking are easily confused because a stacking program can also average photos; but an averaging program does not stack them.  Yes, confusing.  Normally, photos that are stacked are individual frames that are digitally superimposed using a registration point that keeps stars round in the final image because the 1/2s images are each aligned.  Averaging programs don't use a registration point on the images to keep them aligned.  That's why a 10s averaged photo taken on a non-tracking mount shows star trails.  For instance, if you set up your scope with a camera attached on a stationary tripod, and took an image of a single star every 1/2s for 10s, you would end up with 20 images, each image showing the star in a slightly different position, in a straight line across a final, average image.  I hope that makes sense.  

thank you very much. yeah that makes a lot of sence. so in i really need a traking mount then to get sush amazing photos. other thing. what exactly is nv? i have never heard of it.



#603 GeezerGazer

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Posted 22 December 2018 - 01:36 PM

thank you very much. yeah that makes a lot of sence. so in i really need a traking mount then to get sush amazing photos. other thing. what exactly is nv? i have never heard of it.

NV is Night Vision... just like is used by the military and many nocturnal hunters and war game players in the US.  It's expensive, ranging in price $1500-$4,000.  But consider that most smart phones now cost $700-$1,100 and the best glass eyepieces, which cannot reveal some things that NV does reveal, cost many hundreds of dollars.  But the main reason I went to NV was to avoid buying a bigger light bucket which would have cost about the same as the night vision.  My NV device weighs 16 oz., while the bigger scope was nearer 100 lbs. and takes up a lot more room to haul and store at home.  At 70, my choice was clear.  And, without NV, I would never have become involved with Phonetography, which I like SOOO much better than written notes.  NV is not for everyone, but it is another option that can solve the astro gear weight problem for many curious, aging or disabled participants.  It can be used afocally or in prime mode, handheld or mounted, with H-a or without, and most important for most astronomers, under light polluted or completely dark skies.  CN members, Gavster who lives in London, UK, and Moshen in San Francisco, (and many others in city or urban areas where LP limits use of their astro equipment) use NV primarily to overcome the severe LP that exists at their home.  In this age of technological wonders, NV offers a solution to many issues, for deep sky observing.  If you are strictly a lunar/planetary or double star observer, then NV is not really necessary because these subjects are bright enough through glass eyepieces.  But if, like me, you want to see more without having to haul a huge telescope about, then NV is an option worth considering, particularly if you reside in the city.

 

Using NV for Phonetography creates a huge advantage because the light intensifier brightens everything.   Basically, the effect of NV is at least a doubling of your current aperture.  Last May I was fortunate to observe again with a group of enthusiastic observers known unofficially as the OFLI, at the City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico.  Some notable CN voices, including Bill Paolini, our resident CN eyepiece guru, was in attendance and commented about my image of the Sombrero Galaxy last May, stating that although it was taken with a 5.5" aperture with NV, it was equivalent to what he was seeing through several of the 16" Dobs also present.  That would be an effective tripling of aperture.  I believe the effect is dependent on different issues including light pollution and the surface brightness of the subject/target.  But NV is seen regularly to at least double the effective aperture of a given scope on DSO subjects.  

 

Where I live, LP and particulate pollution are big issues.  But even so, NV allows me to see much deeper using H-a band pass or IR cut-on filters.  NV enhances the entire light spectrum, but it is more sensitive in the near infrared.  So using an IR filter with NV, which effectively blocks the visible light spectrum where light pollution occurs, and allowing light above the 656nm threshold to pass, I can see a great deal more from home.  But just like with a glass eyepiece, larger apertures and a dark sky makes it even better.  CN member Mike P. was also at City of Rocks with his 20" Teeter with a fast Lockwood mirror, and when I put the NV device in his focuser, he said he had never seen such a sight from his scope.  We were looking at the Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula using a 7nm H-a filter for real time viewing.  I took this image with my iPhone 6+, ISO 64, 1/6s for 5s.  Using NV, it doesn't matter what scope you are using, it is going to seem like a much bigger aperture and it makes Phonetography very easy to achieve some stunning results.  

gallery_7159_10145_161142.jpg


Edited by GeezerGazer, 22 December 2018 - 01:40 PM.

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#604 Ovalman

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Posted 23 December 2018 - 10:53 AM

Is NightCap an Android or iOS app? I see a NightCap in the Play Store but it's only 2 stars and 1k downloads. It also doesn't look like an Astronomical app.

 

I have a reason to ask which I'll get to in a minute but Santa is bringing me a smartphone adapter :) I've a Celestron 102SLT which has a motorised mount. Of course I understand the limitations of the scope and mount but I'd love to try and produce something. I had a webcam set up many years ago (philips spc900c) and was able to produce some basic pics by streaming which I've since lost.

 

I've managed to learn a little Android programming. My thoughts are many kids will get a cheap scope for XMas and they'll want to do stuff with it. I've had a play around with Registax in the past and while it's a brilliant piece of software, your average kid won't want to set it up. I'm thinking of creating something all in one, that can take long exposures or video and then stack the images on the phone. Modern phones are mini PC's, while they might not be as fast as an actual PC they are still good for number crunching. It would be great if there was something that done everything all in one. Mobiles also have their limitations, keeping the shutter open for longer exposures is one, you can't just specify to keep the shutter open for 1 second as hardware varies from phone to phone but I think there are ways around this. Stacking the images would also be difficult although Android provides image merging.

 

My idea may never get off the ground but I'd like to try. What features would you need in such an app? Any thoughts?



#605 GeezerGazer

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Posted 23 December 2018 - 04:15 PM

Is NightCap an Android or iOS app? I see a NightCap in the Play Store but it's only 2 stars and 1k downloads. It also doesn't look like an Astronomical app.

 

I have a reason to ask which I'll get to in a minute but Santa is bringing me a smartphone adapter smile.gif I've a Celestron 102SLT which has a motorised mount. Of course I understand the limitations of the scope and mount but I'd love to try and produce something. I had a webcam set up many years ago (philips spc900c) and was able to produce some basic pics by streaming which I've since lost.

 

I've managed to learn a little Android programming. My thoughts are many kids will get a cheap scope for XMas and they'll want to do stuff with it. I've had a play around with Registax in the past and while it's a brilliant piece of software, your average kid won't want to set it up. I'm thinking of creating something all in one, that can take long exposures or video and then stack the images on the phone. Modern phones are mini PC's, while they might not be as fast as an actual PC they are still good for number crunching. It would be great if there was something that done everything all in one. Mobiles also have their limitations, keeping the shutter open for longer exposures is one, you can't just specify to keep the shutter open for 1 second as hardware varies from phone to phone but I think there are ways around this. Stacking the images would also be difficult although Android provides image merging.

 

My idea may never get off the ground but I'd like to try. What features would you need in such an app? Any thoughts?

 

Ovalman, NightCap Camera app is iOS only.  And as far as I know, there is no Android equivalent.  Some newer Android products like the Samsung S9 allows for manual control of the camera with up to a 10 second exposure, which is enough for many of the brightest astro subjects; Luna, Jupiter, Saturn and perhaps M-42.  

 

If you are going to write a new app, you would want manual control of at least exposure time, ISO, and perhaps focus;  many phone cameras have trouble focusing under very low light conditions. 

 

IIRC, CNer Kevdog in the EAA forum was thinking about writing such a program for Android.  You might want to contact him for some collaboration after the holidays. 


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#606 PolyWogg

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Posted 23 December 2018 - 09:07 PM

Is NightCap an Android or iOS app? I see a NightCap in the Play Store but it's only 2 stars and 1k downloads. It also doesn't look like an Astronomical app.

 

I have a reason to ask which I'll get to in a minute but Santa is bringing me a smartphone adapter smile.gif I've a Celestron 102SLT which has a motorised mount. Of course I understand the limitations of the scope and mount but I'd love to try and produce something. I had a webcam set up many years ago (philips spc900c) and was able to produce some basic pics by streaming which I've since lost.

 

I've managed to learn a little Android programming. My thoughts are many kids will get a cheap scope for XMas and they'll want to do stuff with it. I've had a play around with Registax in the past and while it's a brilliant piece of software, your average kid won't want to set it up. I'm thinking of creating something all in one, that can take long exposures or video and then stack the images on the phone. Modern phones are mini PC's, while they might not be as fast as an actual PC they are still good for number crunching. It would be great if there was something that done everything all in one. Mobiles also have their limitations, keeping the shutter open for longer exposures is one, you can't just specify to keep the shutter open for 1 second as hardware varies from phone to phone but I think there are ways around this. Stacking the images would also be difficult although Android provides image merging.

 

My idea may never get off the ground but I'd like to try. What features would you need in such an app? Any thoughts?

Hi Ovalman,

 

I don't wish to rain on your parade, but to be honest and blunt, I doubt this is a priority area with much reward. At some point, if there's a big enough market, someone will port NightCap from iOS to Android, and everyone else will be dead in the water. The only reason NightCap hasn't done that in the past was that the only hardware API for Android didn't allow for enough control of the camera to bypass the limitations. Now with almost all of the high-end cameras doing it, it changes the market for them. Just my personal opinion, of course, but it seems to be the informal consensus and semi-official response to why NightCap hasn't bothered with Android (yet).

 

In the interim, there is Camera FV-5 and a couple of others, although some of the higher end phones for Android now have decent control built-in with their main camera app. So, can you program a stack program to run on Android? In theory, yes, and some of the features are already there (the way they merge a couple of angles with the multiple lenses is similar). But doing it for 10 photos on a camera app sounds great, but to be honest, Camera FV-5 already does it as do some of the older apps. At present, they will give a longer exposure, but what it is actually doing for 10 seconds is taking 10 x 1s and stacking them. Several other apps already do this. Not sure what they'll do with the higher end phones now.

 

If you're going to try to compete with Registax, etc., my short advice is good luck. The complexity of doing good combinations and stacking, plus doing it on a smartphone's power? Well, let's just say there's a reason why all the other stacking programs do it on PCs and many of those can't do it out of the gate with enough power to make it worthwhile.

 

The real test of any app to compete with NightCap is going to be the ability on higher-end phones to do an actual longer-than-1s exposure AND save in Raw. If you're still going ahead, I reviewed all the features of Camera FV-5 on my website (a series of posts) using my older limited smartphone, so that would give you the list of tweakable features that are relevant. If you REALLY want to help people? Give them a way to quickly stack a 10s video rather than stacking OR take the best shot of stills from a video. If you want to see the first of the reviews, here's the link: http://polywogg.ca/s...tphone-adapter/. I start with the adapter, but most of the posts past part 1 are about FV-5.

 

Good luck whichever way you go...if you are looking for a sweet spot, 10s is probably your best target. Loren Ball (on here and Facebook) has some excellent photos of **** near everything, only using 10s exposures and his smartphone, including asteroids, Messier objects, etc. If you want to see true magic for the iPhone, there are some great ones on here as well as Failed Protostar on Twitter.

 

Paul


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#607 Ovalman

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Posted 24 December 2018 - 08:02 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys, I've already a few projects on the go so it's just an idea. This is the right place to throw my idea around though. Coding is just a hobby, not a job so not looking to get mega rich out of it.

 

I don't want to compete with Registax but people will be getting scopes this XMas and they won't want to be messing around sending files between phone and PC. Anything that makes this easier is a step in the right direction. Yes I know about Android's camera limitations as I've already had a quick search on my problem. Making the capture side of things may not be hard, stacking the images as opposed to merging photo's may prove more difficult.

 

As to phone power,  they'll never be as good as a PC but they can still crunch numbers. As I say, your average Joe will be getting a cheap toy scope this XMas, they'll want to do things with it and they won't want the hassle of a complicated program like Registax. Every step saved solves a pain.

 

Anyway, look forward to producing images of my own when I get my adapter tomorrow. I'll have a better idea of what is needed when I actually attach my phone to my scope.

 

Thanks for the feedback.



#608 eclecto-acoustic

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 12:27 AM

Well, I'm jumping on a good deal to get my paws on a Huawei P20 (non Pro), which really excites me for smartphone astrophotography. The part that I am really looking forward to, aside form virtually full manual control of the camera's settings by default, is the use of the 20MP monochrome sensor. 


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#609 PolyWogg

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 02:06 AM

So I might have misled people when I was talking about the longer exposure. I had heard from multiple sources that they were using the iPhone for 10second exposures (or longer, but for the issues I was discussing, mostly 10s versions) and then stacking them. Apparently that isn't quite accurate.  Nor was I quite right about the Night Cap / Android market.

 

I exchanged emails with the Night Cap guy, as I was looking to buy a new iPhone and their site hadn't been updated yet to say whether or not it was fully compatible with the new iPhone XS and XS Max. X was listed, but neither of the two XS or XR models. Anyway, while I was poking around another software site, I saw a reference to iPhones being limited to 1/3 of a second. Which wasn't true, I had done a 10s version myself on an older 6+ model. Or so I thought.

 

Apparently Night Cap *does* do LEs, but not really -- it does what you were talking about Ovalman, namely a series of shorter exposures and stacking them. The older models were limited to 1/3 of a second duration, so even though Night Cap will do, for instance, a 10s exposure, it was really doing 30 x 1/3s and stacking them. The new iPhones will now do a full 1s exposure, which sounds great -- except there's a bug in the iOS. Once you take that 1s photo, it immediately hard resets back to 1/3s default...which means if you do a 10s exposure, you'll get 1 x 1s, and then 27 x 1/3 s. You can't do 10 x 1s, the iOS won't let Night Cap do it. So they have a work-around to do them all at 1/2s and the iOS *will* let them do that.

As for the info about adapting to Android, I was only half-right with my description. Apparently the nuance of difference is not just the quality of the various Android controls so much as the sheer variety -- with the iPhone, the "tweaks" are very heavily hardware dependent. So they focused on that, and don't have the expertise or manpower to expand into the Android market where the variations are extensive. If you follow that logic to do your own software, you might have better success if you go hardcore on the model of phone that you have or at least one of the top three (Samsung / Google Pixel / Huawei). Just a thought...

 

Or maybe offer your services to them to do an Android version. :) It would be awesome if they would open source their old code though...there are hackers aplenty that would take a go at an Android version!

 

In the meantime, I pulled the trigger and bought the iPhone XS Max. I tested a case on it in the Celestron NEXYX adapter, and it all seems to fit well. Now I just need some warmer weather (-20 C last night, not encouraging me!) so I can test before the lunar eclipse arrives in just 18 more days. Eek!

 

Paul

aka PolyWogg


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#610 NorthernlatAK

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 04:50 AM

Plato.jpg Had to post this one...love the shadows cast into the crater Copernicus. Taken with a Pixel camera on my 8" Sky-Watcher Collapsible Dobson.

That's Plato, not copernicus btw... very cool shadows though!
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#611 DNA7744

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 10:26 AM

That's Plato, not copernicus btw... very cool shadows though!

Thanks for the correction!



#612 bentleyousley

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Posted 05 January 2019 - 01:44 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys, I've already a few projects on the go so it's just an idea. This is the right place to throw my idea around though. Coding is just a hobby, not a job so not looking to get mega rich out of it.

 

I don't want to compete with Registax but people will be getting scopes this XMas and they won't want to be messing around sending files between phone and PC. Anything that makes this easier is a step in the right direction. Yes I know about Android's camera limitations as I've already had a quick search on my problem. Making the capture side of things may not be hard, stacking the images as opposed to merging photo's may prove more difficult.

 

As to phone power,  they'll never be as good as a PC but they can still crunch numbers. As I say, your average Joe will be getting a cheap toy scope this XMas, they'll want to do things with it and they won't want the hassle of a complicated program like Registax. Every step saved solves a pain.

 

Anyway, look forward to producing images of my own when I get my adapter tomorrow. I'll have a better idea of what is needed when I actually attach my phone to my scope.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

 

Hello Ovalman,

 

Have you looked into the new Google Camera extension called "Night Sight"? This seems to be the new vanguard in low-light photography. It uses algorithms which determine how many exposures and at what exposure time to capture images within a 6 second window. The images are then processed ("smart" stacked) using machine learning to dramatically reduce noise and increase detail. The result is an enhanced single image. This would seem like an obvious starting point if you are interested in developing an app for smart-phone astrophotography. The main limitation to using the app for this function at present seems to be the inability for the user to specify any of the useful parameters for astrophotography (ie exposure time, number of exposures which are stacked etc...)  I would love to see someone take on a dedicated astrophotography app based on this platform. If you are looking for a beta tester - sign me up!

 

A thread with some through-the-eyepiece images (a guy from Google even jumped into the conversation to explain the process):

 

https://www.cloudyni...eyepiece-shots/


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#613 Ovalman

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 12:10 PM

Hello Ovalman,

 

Have you looked into the new Google Camera extension called "Night Sight"? This seems to be the new vanguard in low-light photography. It uses algorithms which determine how many exposures and at what exposure time to capture images within a 6 second window. The images are then processed ("smart" stacked) using machine learning to dramatically reduce noise and increase detail. The result is an enhanced single image. This would seem like an obvious starting point if you are interested in developing an app for smart-phone astrophotography. The main limitation to using the app for this function at present seems to be the inability for the user to specify any of the useful parameters for astrophotography (ie exposure time, number of exposures which are stacked etc...)  I would love to see someone take on a dedicated astrophotography app based on this platform. If you are looking for a beta tester - sign me up!

 

A thread with some through-the-eyepiece images (a guy from Google even jumped into the conversation to explain the process):

 

https://www.cloudyni...eyepiece-shots/

Thanks for the kind words. atm it's just a thought. I've had a play around with some coding but not much more. Stacking and aligning would be much more difficult but I think the main drawback is different phones use different components. It could well be a hardware issue that prevents anyone developing something but something all in one would be a lot easier than porting to PC and using Registax even if the latter is the best way to do things. I'm sure many of those who got a scope this XMas just want something to plug and play.



#614 bentleyousley

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Posted 06 January 2019 - 02:40 PM

Hello Ovalman,

 

My thought was, as far as an astrophotography mod to "Night Sight",  this camera add-on already takes multiple images, stacks and aligns them. It seems that if one could only expose a couple of parameters to enable manipulation by users (say, being able to change the default total exposure time from 6 seconds to 30 seconds (or more) ), I believe this software could be an absolute game-changers in smartphone astrophotography.



#615 Flyingsnow

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 02:57 PM

Who’s got pics of the eclipse?? 

I took this one with my Travelscope 80, a 25mm super plossl and my iPhone 7

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#616 eclecto-acoustic

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 03:52 PM

20181225 001624
IMG 20190121 095657
IMG 20190121 151239
 
The close up was taken on Christmas Eve with an LG X Power. The eclipse was taken with an X Power 2, and the full moon after on my new Huawei P20.

 


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#617 HeathM98

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:32 PM

8DB59B34-48EC-45C5-95EB-4E0200A504C1.jpeg


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#618 HeathM98

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:34 PM

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#619 HeathM98

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:35 PM

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#620 HeathM98

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:39 PM

Mine were through an iPhone X using NightCap through Celestron 15x70’s, fighting clouds and a failed ball-head mount, sadly making them less than sharp...


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#621 eclecto-acoustic

eclecto-acoustic

    Vostok 1

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  • Loc: Sidney, BC

Posted 23 January 2019 - 07:23 PM

Next time out I will start shooting in RAW and getting set up properly on the P20...tough not to rush things when it is so cold out.



#622 GeezerGazer

GeezerGazer

    Apollo

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  • Loc: Modesto, CA

Posted 30 January 2019 - 12:40 AM

The new iPhone XS/XS Max and XR allow for a 1 second camera exposure, whereas, previous iPhone iterations allow only 1/3 or 1/2 second.  But a bug in the operating system of the new phones would not allow 3rd party vendors, like NightCap, to access the 1 second exposure... that's going to change.  I just received the following message from Chris at NightCap: 

"Good news - Apple have just fixed the 1 second exposure issue in iOS 12.2 (which is currently in beta, so will likely be released in a month or two). We’ve tested it over the weekend and it seems to be working really well with NightCap Camera - many more stars are visible, especially in Star Trails mode. We’ll have an update available supporting it as soon as iOS 12.2 is available to everyone."

1/2s to 1s doesn't sound like much of a change, but it is another step in the right direction and will allow fainter objects to be captured by the XS, XS Max and XR iPhones using NightCap.  For those using these newer iPhones for Phonetography, it means that our maximum exposure time will double.  To get an idea what that looks like, you can set your camera for a 1/8s exposure and then a 1/4s exposure for comparison.  It'll be a nice jump in performance. 

I'm definitely liking this upgrade!  applause.gif

 

I was able to do some observing last Thursday during a break in cloud systems/storms.  Took 56 phone images in 3.5 hrs.  I used my 8" f:4 Newt with an ASA reducer which makes it f:2.8, and my Night Vision eyepiece for the Horse Head.  I used my TEC 140 at f:7 for the Jellyfish.  These two images are unprocessed, straight from the XR iPhone:

 

Horse Head and Flame Nebulas, using a 7nm H-a filter, ISO 4000, 1/2s exp, averaged 10s.

IMG_3693.jpg

 

Jellyfish Nebula, using a 7nm H-a filter, ISO 6400, 1/2s exp, averaged 10s.  

IMG_3704.jpg


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#623 Bagwell

Bagwell

    Mariner 2

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  • Loc: Houston, Texas

Posted 30 January 2019 - 09:21 AM

Those are spectacular photos and great news about NightCap Camera.  I wish NightCap Camera were available for Android.  I don't remember exactly but thought last I checked that it wasnt available for Android.  

 

Tell more about your newtonian scope, the mounts you used on both scopes and the condition of your skies.  

 

Thanks and clear skies, 

Vaughn



#624 GeezerGazer

GeezerGazer

    Apollo

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  • Loc: Modesto, CA

Posted 30 January 2019 - 12:28 PM

I wish NightCap Camera were available for Android.  I don't remember exactly but thought last I checked that it wasnt available for Android.  

 

Tell more about your newtonian scope, the mounts you used on both scopes and the condition of your skies.  

 

Thanks and clear skies, 

Vaughn

NightCap is only for iOS, unfortunately.  But Android users have access to the Galaxy S9 which allows a 10s exposure and the Huawei P20 Pro which allows up to a 32s exposure and has a 20mp monochrome sensor!  I don't know a lot about the Pixel, but it is often used for phonetography too. 

 

I was testing Thursday night specifically to see differences between my TEC 140 and the new 8" Newt on the same subjects using the same filters at about the same magnification (FoV) using reducers to equalize them.  I observe 35 miles from home, 800' higher, at a green zone site.  I live in the central valley of California, and we have low lying fog for much of the winter, so I drive to the Sierra foothills to see so much more.  

 

I use an iOptron AZ Pro mount for both the 140 and the 8" Newt.  I also use old 50mm, 105mm and 300mm Nikon camera lenses, a 6" Newt, and 60mm finderscope (Scopestuff Versascope) with my Night Vision eyepiece for images of really big swaths of the sky... all are used on the AZ Pro which has proven to be simple to use, compact and accurate.  I made incremental weights totaling 20 lbs. for the mount to offset the weight of the various optics.  And, the mount is attached to a portable pier that I built some years ago for medium size refractors.  I'm in the process of making a 5" diameter riser to be used on an old Meade tripod with 2" stainless steel legs; I might get it welded together today.  I'll take a photo of it when complete to post here.  My pier puts the Newt eyepiece (when pointed at zenith) a little too high for me to use.  The Meade tripod w/riser will allow me to sit and observe with the Newt.  Here's a picture of my 140 attached to the home built portable pier with the AZ Pro.  

 

IMG_1168.jpeg



#625 Bagwell

Bagwell

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  • Loc: Houston, Texas

Posted 30 January 2019 - 12:53 PM

Thanks for all the details.  Much appreciated.  

Vaughn




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