iPhone 8 Plus - Astrophotography
Posted: 23 October 2017
During the afternoon on Sunday, 22 October 2017, I did some more iPhone 8 Plus astrophotography tests, this time of the Sun. I used the Spectrum Telescope Mobile Phone Telescope Kit with Solar Filter. Unlike the clip-on 8X telephoto lens I used on the previous session, the Spectrum 8X telephoto lens is held in an adapter that clamps against the sides of the phone. This made it stable over the dual camera and allowed for easy switching between the 1X and 2X camera lenses. Here are two handheld photos of the Sun (no sunspots) taken with NightCap Camera:
Sun, 8X (1/1250sec, ISO 100)
Sun, 16X (1/450sec, ISO 160
On the previous session report I noted a problem with the Wi-Fi connection to the telescope. I suspected a loose connection somewhere. After I did the Sun imaging I went to the observatory to do some troubleshooting. I wiggled the RS-232 connections. I powered on the LX600 and the Wi-Fi adapter. The connection to the scope worked fine. Whew.
Open: Sunday, 22 October 2017, 2013 MST
2019 MST: LX600 ON, StarLock OFF, High Precision OFF.
Viewed M11 (Wild Duck Cluster, open star cluster), 102X.
2023 MST: Wi-Fi ON. Had the same RS-232 connection problem as on the previous session. Wiggled the connections again and cycled the adapter power. That worked. Did some ScopeBoss iOS tests. 2033 MST: Wi-Fi OFF. I'm getting concerned that my Wi-Fi adapter is failing. It is over 4 years old. It could also be that the connectors are just dirty. Will see what happens on the next session.
Began setting up to image M11 using the iPhone 8 Plus. Mounted the iPhone on a 30mm eyepiece using the Levenhuk Smartphone Adapter. 2047 MST: StarLock ON. This is a StarLock autoguided afocal 81X image taken with NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8000, 1/3sec, 1 minute exposure) using the Lightning Earbuds as a remote shutter release:
2051 MST: StarLock OFF.
Began setting up for sky imaging. Polar aligned the iOptron SkyTracker Pro. Mounted the iPhone on the SkyTracker using the Levenhuk adapter. Added a clip-on wide-angle lens over the 1X camera lens. This is the setup:
This is the eastern sky with the wide-angle lens, tracked, NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8000, 1/3sec, 1 minute exposure). The constellation of Cassiopeia is at the upper left, constellation of Perseus at the left, the star Capella (slightly distorted) at the bottom left, the constellation of Taurus at the bottom center, and the Pleiades above Taurus.
This is a black-n-white image, wide-angle lens, tracked, NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8000, 1/3sec, 1 minute exposure), of the Summer Triangle. The Milky Way is even visible through the constellation of Cygnus. Amazing.
I switched from the wide-angle lens to a clip-on fisheye lens for this tracked black-n-white image, NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8000, 1/3sec, 1 minute exposure), of the Summer Triangle. This lens is lower quality and so the Milky Way is barely visible.
Switched from the Levenhuk adapter to the Spectrum Telescope adapter with 8X telephoto lens.
This photo, tracked, 8X, NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 8000, 1/3sec, 1 minute exposure), is of M45 (the Pleiades):
I then moved the 8X lens over the 2X dual camera lens for this photo, tracked, 16X, NightCap Camera (Long Exposure, Light Boost, ISO 5000, 1/3sec, 1 minute exposure), of M45 (the Pleiades):
2200 MST: ended iPhone sky astrophotography.
Slewed the 12" telescope to M45 (Pleiades) and viewed it at 81X, 49X, and 102X.
2213 MST: LX600 OFF.
Close: Sunday, 22 October 2017, 2222 MST
Session Length: 2h 09m|
Over the years since 2007 I have been doing astrophotography with various models of the iPhone, including the original iPhone. Each model has improved the camera, and hence the iPhone astrophotography. Now that I have the latest model iPhone 8 Plus and have begun using it for astrophotography, I have decided to take on a new challenge: imaging all of the Messier Catalog objects using an iPhone. As I get those photos I will them to my Messier Catalog iPhone Astrophotography album.
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