Observing the universe through a lens can be a life-changing event. Exploring the Moons of Jupiter, embarking on a journey through the Milky Way, or simply soaking up the beauty of the Moon. But if you truly want to remember a moment, try taking a photo. This can even be done from your backyard, with your smartphone. Yes, smartphone cameras can make this possible, but it does take some knowledge and work.
How to Connect a Smartphone to a Telescope?
Astrophotography with a smartphone is possible, and it can be done in two ways:
The first option of connecting a smartphone to a telescope is to put the smartphone to the eyepiece, which works well especially for smaller sensors aiming at larger objects, like a smartphone taking a picture of the Moon. However, some other factors still need to be taken into account, and we will take a look at them right after we dive into the second option.
The second, and possibly the better option would be buying an adapter for your smartphone, which features a clamp for the eyepiece, as well as a universal smartphone holder. Using an adapter will ensure the user to properly place the smartphone on the eyepiece, so it does not move around.
Adaptors are clamped onto the eyepiece of the telescope and they hold your phone in place so that the phone’s camera is located behind the eyepiece. This assures that whatever is visible will be captured by the phone's camera. Optical zoom can also be applied to magnify the image of the target even more.
Pondering about which phone's camera is best is always a fun Sunday debate topic. We can all agree that most smartphone cameras have a picture-perfect resolution, however, they are not intended for astrophotography, hence they still lack the settings and features needed to capture subtle features of celestial objects.
To be able to capture them, the user would still need to get a hold of eyepiece filters such as the Moon filter or a coloured filter which lessens the brightness of the target. As without one, it does not matter whether if you are team Apple or team Samsung, Saturn will in both cases be a bright, over-exposed smudge on the sky.
Another thing that will make your astrophotography voyage a whole lot better is an editing software, to improve those pictures. Yes, a smartphone can be used for astrophotography, but it is still rather difficult for the picture to match the one you see when looking through a telescope. And as with most things in life, your abilities will develop with practice, and each photo will certainly come out better.
While the outcome of your photos of the Moon might not match NASA's taken with proper equipment, smartphone astrophotography is still a great starting point. Connecting a smartphone to a telescope is a wonderful alternative for hobbyist astronomers who want to seize a moment with limited equipment.