The Orion Nebula via Smartphone

The Orion Nebula, M42

January 25th, 2018, 8:30 p.m. local time

The skies were very clear last night and the temperature in the mid-30s (F), with no wind.  It was a great opportunity to take my 10″ Dob outside for the first time this year.

There were many targets in the sky, but as it was a school night, I decided to focus (no pun intended) on the Orion Nebula.  I first observed it for a while with only my 2″ 32mm eyepiece.  It still looks as I recall from the prior season of observation.  Worth noting was the presence of the Quarter Moon, so the skies were nowhere near ideal for deep sky observations.

I then proceeded to attach my phone via mount to the eyepiece.  Understand that my attempts at photographing any deep sky object, such as M42, accentuate the limits of my astrophotography equipment.  I do not have an equatorial mount, so I cannot take the needed exposures for truly rich images.  One image I took at a four-second exposure brought out the nebula’s shape in surprising clarify, but the long star trails make the image unusable.  I settled for a few ~0.3 second exposures, lightly edited afterward in PaintShop Pro.

18 thoughts on “The Orion Nebula via Smartphone

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  2. I like your image. You can really see a lot with a smartphone. It reminds me of my first images of the Orion nebula with my 8 inch telescope. Visit this link to see my most recent image, and please visit my blog jmllife.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. When I took this photo I was using my old Samsung Galaxy (Android) phone. It had great controls to adjust exposure, ISO, white balance, etc., to the point I could easily take the phone out at any time, point it at the Moon, and get some nice detail for a non-zoomed image. If I recall, the exposure limit was 8 or 10 seconds.

      I recently switched to an iPhone, and the stock camera app offers little-to-no controls. It’s essentially intended to take pictures of yourself. However, there are custom iPhone camera apps that mimic DSLR functions. I haven’t gotten around to testing them yet. My new iPhone by specs has a much better camera than my Galaxy did, and I hope this proves out with the right camera app.

      Like

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