Cassiopeia Observatory logo

More iPhone 5s Camera Tests

Posted: 25 September 2013

On yesterday's report I discussed my "virtual star party" using FaceTime on my new iPhone 5s. The Mac Observer published an article about it: "FaceTime with Saturn: See the Sky with a Telescope and iPhone 5s". Check it out.

On 1 September 2013, I reported that the battery on my Rigel Systems PulsGuide Illuminator was failing. I had to special order a replacement battery through Amazon as it was not available locally. It finally arrived:


The observatory was opened Tuesday, 24 September 2013, at 1819 MST, 92°F. The sky was clear. As on the previous two sessions, the primary purpose of this night's session (which would be short) was more astrophotography with my new Apple iPhone 5s (32 GB). At 1826 MST, viewed Venus, 83X. I then began setting up for iPhone afocal imaging of Venus and Saturn using my homemade iPhone afocal adapter. I began imaging Venus at 1832 MST using the iOS 7 Camera app and earbuds remote shutter release.

I first tried a slo-mo video at 444X using a #21 Orange filter (to reduce the atmospheric effects of Venus being low in the sky). Venus overexposed. I added a moon filter to the orange filter. This 444X image of Venus is a single frame from a slo-mo video:


Not a great image but it does show the phase of Venus.

I removed the filters and began imaging Saturn at 444X. This is a stack of 281 frames from a (regular) video recording using Keith's Image Stacker and cropped:


This is a stack of 1117 frames from a slo-mo video using Keith's Image Stacker, cropped:


The coloration is due to Saturn being very low in the sky. I completed imaging through the telescope at 1844 MST. The planets were really too low in the sky for good imaging. I will try imaging Jupiter, currently an early morning object, with the iPhone 5s on a future session.

At 1846 MST, I began observing Saturn through the 8" LX200-ACF at 444X. Cassini Division was not visible due to the poor viewing conditions. It was not even visible at 83X.

I SYNCed the observatory clock to WWV in preparation for a solar transit event on Wednesday morning.

At 1856 MST, Saturn's moons Titan and Rhea were visible at 83X. At 1900 MST, Tethys became occasionally visible, but was difficult to see. At 1903 MST, the moon Dione became faintly visible.

I then did some handheld sky photography with the iPhone 5s and the iOS 7 Camera app. This is an unedited in-camera HDR photograph showing Venus, Saturn, the star Arcturus, and the observatory taken at 1906 MST:

Mouseover or tap to see labels.

Amazing photograph from a cell phone camera.

At 1924 MST, I just looked up at the night sky from the observatory and enjoyed the view of the Milky Way.

Beginning at 1929 MST, I did some Deep Sky Object (DSO) observing at 83X. First was M11 (the Wild Duck Cluster). I then viewed NGC6709 and NGC6755 (open star clusters), followed by NGC7293 (Helix Nebula). I added the focal reducer to the 8" telescope and viewed the Helix Nebula. Although it was low in the southeastern sky, the view of the nebula was very good.

The observatory was closed at 2002 MST, 75°F.

Comments are welcome; use the Comments section below, or you can Email Me. Thanks.

Previous report

Cassiopeia Observatory Home Page

Back to Top

Copyright ©2013 Michael L. Weasner /