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Old 2017-06-17, 17:14   #1
Spherical Cow
 
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Default Cell Phone AstroPhotography

Noticed the Straight Wall near the terminator last night, so I held the cell phone up to the eyepiece. Still amazed that that works...I remembered trying a picture of the Straight Wall before, and dug that out. Below is the comparison. On the left is last night, last quarter, with the sun from the right, so the Wall is a bright line. On the right is a year ago, first quarter, so the sun is from the left, so the wall is a shadow. Really need to make an actual mount, so I can take some nice steady, clear pictures.

Norm
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Old 2017-06-17, 17:40   #2
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What kind of a cell phone takes such high res pictures?
Or is it at the end of telescope?
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Old 2017-06-17, 18:00   #3
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Sorry- yes, the cell phone is just held up to the eyepiece of a dobson-mounted, 6-inch reflector. I'm amazed that the camera in a cell phone can focus that well on the image there; guess I need to learn more about how they focus. The cell phone itself is a Samsung Galaxy S6, which has a 16 megapixel camera.

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Old 2017-06-17, 19:23   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spherical Cow View Post
Noticed the Straight Wall near the terminator last night, so I held the cell phone up to the eyepiece. Still amazed that that works...I remembered trying a picture of the Straight Wall before, and dug that out. Below is the comparison. On the left is last night, last quarter, with the sun from the right, so the Wall is a bright line. On the right is a year ago, first quarter, so the sun is from the left, so the wall is a shadow. Really need to make an actual mount, so I can take some nice steady, clear pictures.

Norm
That's amazingly good!
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Old 2017-06-17, 19:29   #5
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Really need to make an actual mount, so I can take some nice steady, clear pictures.
You doubtless know this but other readers may well find it useful to look up "Lucky imaging".

This morning I pointed a 200mm lens at the moon in a bright blue sky, set the focus to infinity and let camera do its thing. Ended up with two low-contrast blue but in focus images. Unsurprisingly the red channel shows more detail and the blue the least.

These were the first examples of "real" astrophotography I've ever produced.
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Old 2017-06-17, 19:32   #6
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Really need to make an actual mount, so I can take some nice steady, clear pictures.
You should try some image restoration on those. ImageMagick has some useful contributed scripts and
SeDDaRA would likely be effective too.
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Old 2017-06-17, 19:40   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spherical Cow View Post
Really need to make an actual mount, so I can take some nice steady, clear pictures.
You should try some image restoration on those. ImageMagick has some useful contributed scripts and
SeDDaRA would likely be effective too.
Yes, that's the plan- I downloaded ImageMagick after you mentioned it earlier, and have started learning it. Anxious to see how much I can pull out of images like these.

Norm
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Old 2017-06-19, 14:10   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
This morning I pointed a 200mm lens at the moon in a bright blue sky, set the focus to infinity and let camera do its thing. Ended up with two low-contrast blue but in focus images. Unsurprisingly the red channel shows more detail and the blue the least.

These were the first examples of "real" astrophotography I've ever produced.
Neat- hope to see some of your future results. I am a complete novice in the digital realm of astrophotography, and trudging up the steep learning curve of processing. Significantly different from the old days of developing film and printing images.

Norm
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Old 2017-06-19, 17:43   #9
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Quote:
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Really need to make an actual mount, so I can take some nice steady, clear pictures.

Norm
When I mentioned making a mount, my son (a systems engineer) told me about a CAD type program I could download, make a design, and then perhaps have it 3D printed.

Then his wife said "Or you could just buy one on-line", and showed me a few links. Silly me- I should have realized there are already companies making mounts so you can attach a cell phone to a telescope, binoculars, microscope, etc. Wide range of prices, from US $12 up to $70, some made by telescope manufacturers like Orion. I guess cell phone astrophotograhy is already a thing.

Norm
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Old 2017-07-05, 20:11   #10
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A wrap-up to the thread: I got a $20 cell phone camera mount, and it works quite well. Below is a frame from a video taken as the moon drifted through the field of view (6-inch reflector, moderate power eyepiece). I really like the mountain tops that are sticking up in to sunlight that are seen at the top of the picture. The seeing was actually not great; lots of heat waves, as the temperature that evening was still about 97 F.

The second picture is the same equipment, but a low power, wide field eyepiece, aimed at the July 4th fireworks that were 7 miles (11.2 km) away. Again, just a frame grab from a video. You can see all the puffs of smoke from earlier explosions in the lower left, and the long streak of smoke in that area is a rocket going up; it explodes about 1/2 second after this frame.

I continue to be amazed at the quality of cell phone cameras. These things are the size of a pimple, and mass-produced by the millions. Just incredible (to me) that they work so well.

Norm
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Old 2017-07-05, 20:40   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spherical Cow View Post
I continue to be amazed at the quality of cell phone cameras. These things are the size of a pimple, and mass-produced by the millions. Just incredible (to me) that they work so well.
I have had the opportunity to look through the telescope that was the first to ever have a television camera attached to it. And to the best of my understanding it may be the one to have more people view the sky through its eyepiece than any other.
The current generation of CCD's (or the like) that are being attached to some of the survey telescopes is mind numbing (physical size and megapixel count.) It brings to mind the glass plates on Palomar's 48" Schmidt. They were the "big data" astronomy of their day.
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