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Smartphone Astrophotography

astrophotography imaging equipment
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#651 Yong54321

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 02:03 AM

Hi LorenBall

Just curious, good to know you are doing iPhone imaging for quite some time. How do you get 10 seconds exposure on your iPhone SE?

#652 Gavster

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 04:06 AM

I really enjoy being able to make a quick permanent record of my visual observing sessions (generally with my night vision monoculars in conjunction with one of my scopes) by taking photos of the eyepiece views with my smart phone. I use the Televue fonemate adapter together with a huawei p20 pro phone which enable exposures up to 30 seconds and also has a nice mono lens.

Here are some recent images. The galaxies are 6 second exposures, the nebulae 30 seconds exposure, unprocessed. I used my c11 together with a 0.75 visual reducer and 55mm plossl and my night vision monoculars to give around 40x magnification.

Eagle, Trifid, swan and lagoon.

 

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#653 Gavster

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 04:08 AM

Whirlpool galaxy, needle galaxy, eastern veil nebula and crescent nebula

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Edited by Gavster, 21 May 2019 - 04:09 AM.

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#654 PolyWogg

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 06:40 PM

Nice stuff Gavster!



#655 PolyWogg

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 06:43 PM

Does anyone have views about EPs that go well with smartphone photography? I'm potentially about to replace some, and am having trouble deciding on what to look for that is a bit better quality.

 

Short version is I had all my EPs stolen, so I'm starting from scratch. I had a bunch of okay plossls (Celestron, Orion, Televue), and a couple of X-CEL items of high power. But 30% of the time I was using a 42mm x 2" ultra wide Orion, a 32 mm Orion plossl, or a 25mm Celestron plossl (the one they sell with my Celestron NexStar 8SE scope), and the other 70% of the time I was using my 17.3mm Delos Televue for observing. I loved the 17.3 Delos -- seemed perfect to me for power, FoV and eye relief, although I normally take my glasses off. I never adjusted it for height, pretty much set it and left it. Oddly enough though, I also had 10mm Televue Delos, and I didn't like it as much. So the 17.3 is likely an obvious one, but not sure beyond that. I certainly won't be replacing all that I lost, just didn't use them (unless I'm in a dark sky site, power higher than 10-12mm was usually just too much).
 

Soooooo, if I DO replace some of my EPs, I'm wondering if there are some slightly higher end lines you use and love...particularly if you do any prime photography with it or wear your glasses when viewing. I can take 2" or 1.25", although most of my stuff was 1.25". I was initially thinking I would just get all Delos and take a few in the 25-40mm range, but they don't go that high.

 

I'm also curious about higher quality barlows...I had a basic 2x Celestron one, but I've seen variable ones and up to 5x ones that some people love, just not sure why.

But when I turn to pix, I was using mainly two 25mm plossls that fit my Celestron NexYZ adapter well. But are there combos of eye relief, FoV or even 1.25"/2" size that work really well?

 

Paul



#656 LorenBall

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:32 AM

Yong54321 asked :

"Hi LorenBall

Just curious, good to know you are doing iPhone imaging for quite some time. How do you get 10 seconds exposure on your iPhone SE?"

An app Called NightCap Camera allows me to have very good control of my iPhone SE. The cost is $2.99

Here is the link :

https://www.nightcapcamera.com


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#657 Traxx

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:18 PM

What are ya’ll doing to snug up the diagonal? I am having a bit of issue with the weight of the phone (IPhone XS) and NeXYZ causing the diagonal to slip. 

I will be trying a IPod touch tonight and see how that goes. 

On the NightCap app, I believe that some have been able to manually adjust the settings and focus. 



#658 PolyWogg

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 07:59 PM

What are ya’ll doing to snug up the diagonal? I am having a bit of issue with the weight of the phone (IPhone XS) and NeXYZ causing the diagonal to slip. 

I will be trying a IPod touch tonight and see how that goes. 

On the NightCap app, I believe that some have been able to manually adjust the settings and focus. 

I am far from an expert, but I have the 8SE and the stock mount. The weight issue was resolved a bit by me for my config by moving the scope farther forward in the arm...I used to balance it vertically (rather than horizontally) when installing, and would put it so the diagonal would not hit on the mount. However, I found that put it still too far back for weight once I added the adapter and any large EP, plus the phone. By moving it a bit farther forward (or more gap between base and diagonal), it improved my alignment plus kept the weight more balanced. Put more simply, I moved the weighted back closer to the arm in the mount to offset the greater back weight.

 

P.


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#659 Sirvenox

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:45 PM

Wide field with my old ZTE Axon 7  smile.gif

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#660 LorenBall

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 02:38 AM

The Moon is a good target for my Questar-iPhone SE because it is bright. That allows me to use short exposures, and stacking the best 40-50 images of 100 exposures produces a pretty good image.

The large crater at the center of the image is Copernicus. The diameter is about 58 miles.
 

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Edited by LorenBall, 23 May 2019 - 11:23 AM.

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#661 Traxx

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 05:38 PM

I am far from an expert, but I have the 8SE and the stock mount. The weight issue was resolved a bit by me for my config by moving the scope farther forward in the arm...I used to balance it vertically (rather than horizontally) when installing, and would put it so the diagonal would not hit on the mount. However, I found that put it still too far back for weight once I added the adapter and any large EP, plus the phone. By moving it a bit farther forward (or more gap between base and diagonal), it improved my alignment plus kept the weight more balanced. Put more simply, I moved the weighted back closer to the arm in the mount to offset the greater back weight.

 

P.

Actually the diagonal is what is slipping, it rotated from the weight of the NeXYZ and phone. 



#662 PolyWogg

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Posted 23 May 2019 - 07:53 PM

Actually the diagonal is what is slipping, it rotated from the weight of the NeXYZ and phone. 

Ah, sorry, misunderstood. :) I turned my straight back (in line with OTA). It's not how I would normally view, but for pix, it seemed easier, plus no having to worry about flip and rotation to get it to match "eyeball" image.


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#663 SeaBee1

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 03:07 PM

The Moon is a good target for my Questar-iPhone SE because it is bright. That allows me to use short exposures, and stacking the best 40-50 images of 100 exposures produces a pretty good image.

The large crater at the center of the image is Copernicus. The diameter is about 58 miles.
 

 

Holy Smoke Loren! Absolutely stunning image!

 

Best regards!

 

CB


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#664 NorthernlatAK

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 03:47 PM

Here's a pic from may 8th of ar 2740 and 2741. Finally got a pic small enough. Handheld through my 8" f5.9 dob with orion sirius 25mm plossl and gso 3 element 2.5× barlow (more like 2.1×) for ~100×. Taken with an old Samsung Galaxy s6.

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Edited by NorthernlatAK, 31 May 2019 - 07:47 PM.

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#665 PolyWogg

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 11:21 AM

Okay, so I'm trying to get serious about my workflow and figuring out the steps. From talking to Loren, and posting in a couple of FB forums, I have decided I have six steps:

a. Physically attaching my iPhone XS Max above the EP so that the camera is centred and at the right height (using an NexYZ);
b. Placing the apparatus in the telescope so that the target object doesn't move out of frame;
c. Achieving focus on the target through the camera;
d. Setting the camera's options for the image I want using Night Cap;
e. Taking the picture; and,
f. Post-processing

While b-f will be a bit quirky, I'm mainly focused on step 1 -- attaching the iPhone in the adapter above the EP. To my mind, this breaks down into four sub-elements:

 

i) Choosing a good adapter -- already using the NexYZ and I love it, so that's done;

 

ii) Picking a lens

  • Am I better off trying with a bulky 2" lens with a large piece of glass on top (i.e. easy to be above) or with a physically smaller plossl? I have a Hyperion 36mm 2" and a 25 mm 1.25 plossl (two of them actually).
  • Equally, am I better off starting low power like 36mm or low-moderate at 25m? I'm beginning with the moon but eventually want to do glob clusters and double stars to get going (i.e. since I know what those are supposed to look like!)

iii) Centreing the phone above the EP...my iPhone has two lenses with a centre flash. Top one is 12MP, wide-angle, f/1.8; bottom one is telephoto with optical image stabilisation, f/2.4 and 2x optical zoom. Which one am I supposed to be centreing over?

 

I have had trouble centering the image by looking through the camera, so I realized if I turned the camera over, set it flat on the table, and placed my lens on top, I could see through the lens (reverse) to see if the little lens is centred. This works if I have light, not so awesome in the dark, but I'd like to just get it working for now, so doing it mostly at home in my kitchen and then taking it outside. Is there a better way?

 

iv) How high above the EP should the camera be? With the lens in the adapter, and it centred over the EP (or vica versa, EP centred under the camera lens), height seems like the last physical adjustment...is it easier I using a lot of eye relief with cups or and low eye relief without cups, almost touching?

I feel like I'm close to a break-through, just need to be consistent in attaching the phone to the scope.

 

Paul

 

Equipment: NexYZ adapter, iPhone XS Max, stock Alt-Az mount, NexStar 8SE


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#666 SeaBee1

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 12:56 PM

Hi PolyWogg! What I have found works best for me is to mount the Nexyz on the eyepiece of choice, and then turn on the phone camera. Then mount the phone in the cradle and center the image in the camera app using the xy adjustments. It helps to point the eyepiece barrel at a lighted background or even a light source. At that point in time, I mount the eyepiece/phone adapter/smart phone assembly in the telescope. I can also fine tune the positioning on a bright target if needed.

 

It works for me...

 

CB


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#667 PolyWogg

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Posted 08 June 2019 - 04:03 PM

Hi PolyWogg! What I have found works best for me is to mount the Nexyz on the eyepiece of choice, and then turn on the phone camera. Then mount the phone in the cradle and center the image in the camera app using the xy adjustments. It helps to point the eyepiece barrel at a lighted background or even a light source. At that point in time, I mount the eyepiece/phone adapter/smart phone assembly in the telescope. I can also fine tune the positioning on a bright target if needed.

 

It works for me...

 

CB

Thanks CB...it is getting it in the NexYZ and lined up that I'm struggling with, thanks. I am doing it the same i.e. before attaching to telescope but hadn't tried the lighted background yet.

 

Stay tuned!

 

P.


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#668 Flyingsnow

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 06:33 PM

Hey everyone. Its been a while. I hope all have had clear skies. Mine haven’t been great but I get out when I can. This is my best Jupiter so far and first image using PIPP and Registax. This was extracted from a 40 sec video taken with the native iPhone 7!camera, in terrible seeing conditions.  292 frames out of 584 stacked and the edited in PSExpress and Snapseed on the iPhone. 

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Edited by Flyingsnow, 17 June 2019 - 08:25 PM.

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#669 DNA7744

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 08:17 AM

Here's a pic I am happy with...Copernicus taken with my Google Pixel phone handheld to my SW 8" collapsible Dobson with Astro-Tech 12 mm (Paridigm) and Celestron Luminous 2.5 barlow.  Taken a few days ago.

Copernicus 1.jpg


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#670 Flyingsnow

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Posted 18 June 2019 - 11:43 AM

That’s an awesome image DNA!  My favorite Crater 


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#671 Flyingsnow

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:04 AM

Here are a couple of Jupiter’s and a Saturn. If you look closely you can see Europa in the first shot and the Ganymede in the second. Then there is shot Saturn with a hint of Cassini in the last. Viewing was terrible during all of these sessions but stacking really helps.  All taken with an iPhone 7 and a 127mm mak. The first Jupiter image and Saturn image were pushing the max magnification slightly at 316x The second Jupiter image was at 211x. Processed in PIPP and RegiStax

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Edited by Flyingsnow, 25 June 2019 - 10:09 AM.

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#672 Flyingsnow

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:11 AM

Then there is the moon. I will look at and image the moon every time it is out if I can. 

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#673 DNA7744

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:20 PM

Then there is the moon. I will look at and image the moon every time it is out if I can. 

That's me!  I never get tired of catching the next sharp and detailed pic of the craters and mountains of the moon with my cellphone!


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#674 Flyingsnow

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 08:07 PM

That's me!  I never get tired of catching the next sharp and detailed pic of the craters and mountains of the moon with my cellphone!

It’s funny because so many astronomers seem to hate the moon because it’ll drown out DSO’s. But in my light polluted skies, anything I can see is wonderful.


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#675 PolyWogg

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 08:58 PM

Here are a couple of Jupiter’s and a Saturn. If you look closely you can see Europa in the first shot and the Ganymede in the second. Then there is shot Saturn with a hint of Cassini in the last. Viewing was terrible during all of these sessions but stacking really helps.  All taken with an iPhone 7 and a 127mm mak. The first Jupiter image and Saturn image were pushing the max magnification slightly at 316x The second Jupiter image was at 211x. Processed in PIPP and RegiStax

What did you do -- single frame capture, series and stack, or video? Helpful to share details for others to learn...like me :)

PolyWogg


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