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I started attempting to capture meteor falls about 6 years ago with my iPhone 6 Plus running the app NightCap Camera (actually call NightCap Pro then). About 18 months ago that phone died and my service provider insurance replaced it, but with an iPhone 6s Plus. That little “s” really messed up the wide field shots. Apple hardware limited the open shutter time by 1/3, which makes meteor trains look like airplane strobes, and the camera has such tiny sensor dots/pixels it takes lightening to activate them. Faint little spark meteors I see just didn’t register on the sensor.

While comet NEOWISE was out back in late summer I had that 6s set up on my little SkyTracker Pro and a long duration bright gold meteor crossed the frame. It looks like a 737 passing by, and the comet just left a smudge. Frustrating to say the least.

Solution: a brand new old iPhone 6 (no “s”) from fleaBay has been charged and NightCap Camera installed and ready. The SkyTracker is out and ready for polar alignment, with ball head and phone clamp set to look at Polaris. Maybe those low noise star fields will come back! I paid far less for a brand new old phone than any other solution I could come up with, and I’ve managed over 200 captures with the old phone.

Even if I don’t catch a meteor tonight I’ll post a sample of how the new phone works. I’m confident the quality I’m used to will return. It’s also supposed to be stupid clear here tonight with dew points down around 18° F. I’ll be warm and toasty in the house while the phone/tracker do their thing. A state wide (Arkansas) freeze warning has been issued, so I might get lucky with the new old phone on such a rare night. Just a touch warmer and the mount would go out too.

It’s silly to go on about such a odd way to do something, but meteors really trip my hammer.

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