Saturday, December 22, 2012

Astrophotography : Day Moon with iPhone

Equipment used for following daytime astrophotography and videos of moon was 70mm refractor without moon filter, 10, 20 & 4 mm eyepieces. iPhone camera.

Un-magnified view of the day scene with moon when the pictures were taken is shown in following image.

A 10mm and a 20mm eyepiece was used for following 2 photographs respectively.

Below two pictures were taken with a 4mm eyepiece.

Below picture is taken with 10mm eyepiece and 70 mm refractor telescope with iPhone auto focus.

Video 1: Daytime moon with low power eyepiece.

Video 2: Daytime moon with higher power eyepiece.


1. Start with low power eyepiece.
2. Usually results are better due to reduction on vibration with a low power eyepiece.
3. Above two tips apply to general sky gazing with amateur telescopes too.

Astroimaging Daytime Moon Canon Powershot SD1200

          Astro imaging the day time Moon with Canon Powershot SD 1200 IS digital camera. Photos and videos of day time moon watch taken with regular digital camera and with telescope.

Below picture is taken with camera and no telescope was used.

Below picture is taken with just camera optical zoom. 4X.

Following 3 pictures are taken with 70mm refractor telescope with 20 mm eyepiece and Canon Powershot SD 1200 IS digital camera

         Following VIDEO is taken with 70mm refractor telescope with 20 mm eyepiece and Canon Powershot SD 1200 IS digital camera. In Daylight conditions.

         Tips for day time Moon photography or astroimaging :

1. In daytime Moon filter is not essentially required.2. Avoid bright light of day.3. Morning and evening or twilight is better.4. This gets a natural blue background to image.5. Additionally you can take picture of birds in foreground of moon as birds travel in morning and evenings.6. Can also add other nature objects with the moon in picture frame.

Watching ISS Space Station or Satellites through telescope

          ISS space stations and satellites pass over sky and can be seen through telescope. Many of these are visible to naked eye as tiny dots sometimes on observation. Spotting, finding, Viewing, tracking the ISS International space station ( Zarya ) and other man made satellites is a fun telescope and astronomy activity.

This article is about, How to watch ISS Space Station or Satellites through telescope?

Following are steps to get a view of ISS or satellites through your telescope.


          1. The sky should be clear on that day or night with good weather. (Twilight better for amateurs)
          2. Get the timing of appearance of view from internet websites or apps for your town or GPS location.
          3. Get their elevation from internet for that appearance, more closer to 90 the better longer view.
          4. Find an unobstructed view spot for observation.
          5. Sometimes ISS and satellites are visible only for few minutes, be there before time.
          6. These objects are moving so be on a careful watch. Use magnetic compass or cell phone for directions.
          7. First spot these objects through binoculars. This makes locating easier.
          8. Then use the find scope and see through telescope.
          9. Subjects are moving faster so be ready to move the telescope along with it.

          You may be able to see details as indicated in below diagram. Depending on the telescope you use you will get detailed images of space station. Sometimes powerful binoculars can get detailed or better views too but telescopes are best among those results of image quality. The advantage with binocular is you can move it faster and easily to spot and follow the satellite though the view is smaller due to less magnification.

          If you fail to do so repeat it on good view day with better elevation or timing. Once you have practiced above you can try for taking pictures too with same steps. If you are lucky you can see Soyuz Capsule docking to space station some day. A computerized higher end telescope can do these steps by itself electronically but you can get similar type results with skilled usage.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How to take Moon pictures through telescope using iPhone

How to take Moon pictures through telescope using iPhone?


  1. Set up telescope and view the moon.
  2. Tighten all the knobs and fixtures on telescope.
  3. Make sure tripod is not moving.
  4. Start iPhone camera and turn off the flash.
  5. Hold camera lens hole against the eyepiece hole matching each other.
  6. If you have a camera mount try it if it works for iPhone, most of them will not.
  7. A patchy blob will appear on iPhone screen, make sure be lowest on vibration towards zero.
  8. Tap on the bright light spot and then the iPhone will focus on moon picture properly.
  9. Tap to take picture, it vibrates more. You can use the volume control button on iPhone to snap it.
  10. Move iPhone a little bit it can vary focus on every snap and some pictures will be better than others.
  11. Happy Astrophotography.

All of the above pictures are taken by me with my iPhone 5 and the Celestron PowerSeeker AZ70 telescope

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Celestron PowerSeeker AZ70 Review

          This is a great telescope for starting. It is airtight refraction scope which keeps it free of dust from inside. 70 mm Aperture is sufficient for starting with good results in armature astronomy. Tripod is nice. This image is of Jupiter below and some nebula, suggestively may be achieved with PowerSeeker AZ70.

          Requires a little assembling to use but it is fairly easy. It comes with assembling instructions but steps are fairly easy to assemble it without reading though reading is recommended  Provided with it are 3 eyepieces. The eyepiece of power 20 is most proffered. The other 2 eyepieces are more in power and can be used as appropriate. The 3X Barlow is included in package but its a lot of magnification. It is kind of semi portable and one person can carry it around preferably in a car trunk. It also makes a good corner show piece standing tall in a room if you are totally done using it. Bird watching results are also good but the mount is not easy for tracking. Red dot find scope works great. Eyepieces are plastic. 

Math Points:

Way powerful magnification for collected light if used at maximum. Use low power for good results to start.

The Find scope was found to be awesome.

Azimuth mount is not a great design for tracking but costs less.

Robust and fairly portable.

Results are great looking at this price range similar scopes.

          Above picture is Find Scope to spot objects in sky map. It comes with a battery included.

          I found this tray on the tripod useful to keep eyepieces and tools during operation and changing tools.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Get started on Telescope?

          A telescope suddenly one day came to my thoughts and mind said get one. As what you should do these days go and check out online, I went online and searched information and products. Entry level telescopes costs around one hundred us dollars, watch out for shipping. On line deals are best I first thought. And looking for two three days I almost gave up the idea of getting one and put it on wishlist as I started some other activities. How often really do you do what you think of?

          On Black Friday I went very late to shop most of deals were fished out as expected. And there were these big boxes stacked on top of each other. The telescopes were on throw away price not because of Black Friday but because of big box inventory holding, higher handling costs and it was totally not a sky watch season at all. Whatever be the reason the clearance deal was great just like pay the shipping and handling and the telescope is yours for free. In retail, customer is always the king if not in desperate need.

          I thought it will be again a step into "nerdomy" if I pick the telescope box up. And walked out without picking it up. Some friend encouraged over tweet that it will not make me more nerdy. Knowing tweet is not totally perfect; feet yet walked back to get the telescope as I wanted to do that, as you know from the start of this article.

          And I got started on telescopes.

          Main point is.

          Simple buy a low cost telescope and get started. As you start you may not actually discover stars but but there are many fun things on the way you will learn and discover for yourself.

          This Telescope was used to create above Moon Video. Originally shot in HD. Video quality reduced for blog.