The first photo of the Orion Nebula compared to one taken by an iPhone

Illustration for article titled The first photo of the Orion Nebula compared to one taken by an iPhone

Back in 1880, astronomer Henry Draper required an entire 50 minutes to capture the first telescopic image of the Orion Nebula. Now, over 130 years later, Andrew Symes has accomplished the exact same thing using his iPhone — and he only needed a single second.

Advertisement

Canadian astrophotographer Andrew Symes does most of his photography through a telescope with his iPhone.

"[T]he quality of today's smartphone cameras makes it possible to take very respectable images of the Moon and planets through a telescope with your phone – but it takes some work," he writes at his blog.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The first photo of the Orion Nebula compared to one taken by an iPhone

Image Credit: Andrew Symes.

You can check out his set-up and technique here, but in summary he uses an 8-inch telescope, the NightCap app for iPhone, a smartphone adapter, eyepiece filters, stacking and editing software, and whole lot of practice.

Of course, if you're NASA and you have the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) at your disposal, you can take pictures of the Orion Nebula that look a little like this:

Illustration for article titled The first photo of the Orion Nebula compared to one taken by an iPhone
Advertisement

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA.

Check out Symes's Flickr set for more pics, including some remarkable shots of the moon and Jupiter; you can follow him on Twitter.

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

numberthirteen
numberthirteen

I don't want to sound snobbish here (although I will) but I don't understand why people feel the need to spend time and money adapting existing equipment to take photos with a smartphone, rather than using an actual camera.

Out and about with some pals? Fair enough. This kind of thing, however, just comes across like people trying to shill products without even having any real reason to do so.

A cheap second-hand DSLR would cost a fraction of the outlay on an iPhone, would have existing - and specialised - equipment for astro photography and would produce much better results.

It's all just a bit weird to me. I'm maybe just an old fart stuck in the past, though.