The Pleiades captured with binoculars and a smartphone

Recently, I got an itch to buy a telescope, and after some research, I wanted to get a rich field refractor like Skywatcher 102/500 StarTravel. However, I decided to start with 10×50 binoculars due to lower price and portability. I live in a city and dragging a telescope and mount around in public transportation could kill the interest in the hobby quickly.

The current weather is not well suited for stargazing, and so far there has been only one clear evening after I got the binoculars. Light pollution was a smaller problem than I anticipated, but bright lights at eye level make it hard for the eyes to adjust appropriately.

I had not much time to prepare for my first observation and just went to a nearby plaza to look at whatever was visible at the time. The moon was almost full, and
the Pleiades were visible and I tried to do some astrophotography by putting the binoculars on a tripod and attaching my smartphone to the ocular.

Capturing the moon did not go too well. I was not able to get exposure and focus just right. With the Pleiades, I had better luck and the result – along with a reference view from Stellarium – can be seen in the gallery above. I also tried to fill in the names of the stars. Hopefully, I did not make too many mistakes.

I prepared to final image from five one second ISO 800 exposures with Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (f/1.7 4.2 mm). I used AutoStakkert 3 to stack the images and edited in Affinity Photo. The quality of the result is not very good, but there are quite a few stars visible along with colour.

I am now waiting for good weather to get a second round of astrophotography. I am better-prepared setup my smartphone for astrophotography, and I also plan to try using my Olympus PEN mirrorless system camera.

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