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Hi folks!

We had a transit party at my house earlier this month. We had a Coronado SolarMax, and a 150p dob with solar filter for Venus, and after sunset, we set up the big refractor and took a gander at Saturn. The party was a blast, although I was rather puzzled at the lack of folks from SGL (y'all were invited! :grin: ). This wasn't an astrophotography session, when I have friends over for a telescope event, fiddling with cameras is the last thing I want to do.

A couple of my friends asked if they could take a snap through the lens with their cell phone cameras. My mate Michael even took photos with his android tablet. Got the photos below in an email today and was absolutely amazed at some of the high quality snaps. Clouds pestered us most of the day, so transit was an on-again, off-again experience and those photos are only so-so. But the real winner if the night was the snap of Saturn through the Apomax at 320x. Keep in mind that this refractor is wonderful, but I didn't take the time to do a full alignment, and the photo was taken by holding a cell phone up to the 5mm EP and snapping away. The photo quality is amazing, with Saturn showing banding and surface features, the shadow of the rings can be seen on the planet's surface, and you can pick up the Cassini Gap quite clearly. I was absolutely floored by the quality of this shot.

The moral of the story - don't think you can't do it because you don't have all the expensive kit! Have a go and then show and tell on SGL!!!! :icon_salut:




Proper credit where credit is due.... the photos of Venus through the clouds were taken by Astronomy student Michael Fish (he's the bloke kneeling by the 150p taking photos with the android tablet). The photo of Saturn was taken by Jeremy Woodward, the nice lad with the had standing with me next to the Apomax. The fun photo with the lady looking through the Coronado scope doesn't quite capture the "Ooooo! It's VENUS!!!!" moment, but you get the idea (photo by Woodward). The Apomax, in case you are wondering is a 133mm f/12 refractor with a 4-element oil-filled objective, using an Orion (USA) 5mm Edge-On EP mounted on a Celestron CGE Pro mount. The last photo of Saturn was retouched slightly in Picassa, cropping, adjusting the color, saturation, and such. No sharpening was done, though.










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Very nice, my android phone never gets anything LOL, had marginal success with a compact and the moon. Look forward to getting a 1100d next month woohoo :)

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Love the refractor and the mount. I use my Nokia N8 for lots of photography, video and it is superb for time-lapse. So much so I am considering getting another to use just for time-lapse. It has the same sensor size as most top end point point and shoots (G9 / P7000) with a fixed 28mm F2.8 Zeiss lens and a 'real' shutter.

Here is my 'best' current Moon shot through a pair of 20x90 bins.


This shows the quality of the lens and sensor in it.


Edited by Polar Bear
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Hi Folks,

Thanks for all the nice comments! I posted this in the beginner's forum rather than the photography forum for a very specific purpose. I often see new members here asking things like "How can I get started in astrophotography?" Typically they want to know what sort of scope, mount, camera combo to purchase to 'get into' astrophotography. My point is quite simple - use what you have to hand first! This wasn't a planned photo session, and we didn't do anything special to facilitate a good photo. Even so, this is one of the best single frame exposures of Saturn I've seen from a small (133 mm) aperture scope with a (decidedly!) amateur camera. Until web cams and digital stacking, few amateurs could get exposures this good with a single shot.

The ubiquitous smart phone is something that I would suspect that many amateur astronomers have in pocket when they go observing - so why not give it a go? My (former) student, Michael Fish rather pioneered shooting astro photos with his android tablet when he was in my astronomy class. I'd had many students try photographing through the EP with cell phones in the past few years, but until recently the cameras on such devices were much too poor to acomplish much of anything. Michael's photos of the Moon taken with his 7-inch android tablet (sorry, I don't know what kind it is...) have been published and his work has gotten him a scholarship and he plans to continue his studies in furture at a larger university. Technology has taken another mighty leap forward friends!

Get out there in the dark and give it a go! :grin:


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I actually took some cell phone photography of the 2004 Venus transit through my 11" SCT, just to see what the results would be like. Considering the 2004 tech, and low pixel count, not bad. I will have to see if I can dig them out.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello all,

New here and enjoying the great site.

I wanted to add a few phone cam shots that I enjoyed taking.

The first couple are of the June transit of Venus. I set up my old 10" dob in my neighbors yard to get above the tree line.

I used an off-axis aperture stop to bring it to f22 and a few layers of mirrored Mylar as a Sun filter.

I just hand-held the phone at the eyepiece and managed to get a few snaps.

Got several neighbor kids curious, explained what was happening and they each took turns taking their own pictures and learned something in the process. :grin:

Even though it was fairly cloudy the event showed through.

I also had previously taken a few Moon pics that I use as backgrounds on the computer. (apologies for the size)

While I am happy with the images I need to work on a holder to keep the phone's camera centered in the eyepiece, similar to what you can purchase for the iPhone. This will allow me to venture out to taking pictures of other objects such as the excellent picture of Saturn Dan has above.







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  • 1 year later...

 Hi! I want to share my Milky Way photo using an iPhone with an app called "Long Expo". Location: Santa Ignacia, Tarlac, PH. Time: 10:27 PM June 29 2014 

I did not use lens, tripod or such. Just by hands and patience.

The photo is too big to upload so I'm going to paste the url from Google+. 


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Although I've just bought a camera, I started my picture taking with my HTC ONE mini. I was really surprised by some of the detail you could get, just holding the phone over the EP. :)

Everyone should have a go ,it's great when you get a half decent picture, and think 'I took that'

Here's a link to a few of mine. ;)


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