Thursday, November 13, 2014

iPhone Pocket Telescope


As put together by Humanoido in the new Astro Aeronautics Lab, the iPhone pocket telescope is designed as a small portable telescope that can shoot great images without a tripod or special mounting. This is accomplished using electronic and combined software image stabilization and the additional camera features of the new iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone view with stock lens
The phone, telescope tube assembly, and telescope clip all fit easily into a pocket. The US$13 telescope is a barrel, with focus, that threads into a clip which attaches it to the iPhone.

The tube rotates with a scale from 3 meters to infinity. The iPhone provides auto focus which works well through the telescope.

The photos shown here are all from the unit hand held. Note the remarkable sharpness obtained as a product of the mobile phone and the lens quality.

Telescope view at 8x
The telescope, made of coated precision glass lenses, has 8x magnification at F1.1 and the iPhone has 3X zoom, giving EFL values ranging from 8 to 24X on a sliding scale. Astronomically speaking, this should be enough scale to detect rings around Saturn, cloud belts on Jupiter, the Galilean Moons, and great detail on the Earth's Moon. It will also be exceptionally handy for capturing special selected events like occultations of stars, planets, and moons plus solar and lunar eclipses. Note: solar eclipses will require the use of special heat absorbing and light absorbing features.

Our first test zeroed in on a spherical water tank off in the
The telescope at 24x using 3x zoom
distance. This was shot with the iPhone's normal camera lens, the telescope at its standard 8x and the phones 3x zoom. The round tank is visible approximately in the center of the photo.

The next photo shows the tank view at 8x through the telescope with no zoom. As the telescope is fitted, there is some vignetting though very slight near the edges. The depth of field is focused directly on the tank.

The telescope view at 24x using the Apple camera zoom is remarkable for a hand held image, showing sharpness. The camera cost NT$398 and was missing the tripod and the mobile phone mount. This prompted the discovery of the telescope to function well in a hand held mode.

In the future, the telescope and camera pair will be paced during the first clear nights when the Moon and brighter planets are visible.