If you’ve ever pointed your smartphone’s camera at the sky during a full moon, you’ve probably been very disappointed with the results. French smart telescope maker Vaonis aims to bring you closer to celestial activity with the Hestia, a book-sized telescope that “harnesses the power of your smartphone sensor to photograph the stars.”
“The Stellina and Vespera smart telescopes have been a global success since their introduction,” said company founder Cyril Dupuy. “This year, we pushed the limits of miniaturization with a new innovation: Hestia. To keep costs down and deliver a telescope that truly works for everyone, we rely on the most powerful and widely adopted technology: your smartphone.”
Like Vaonis’ Vespera smart telescope, Hestia is seeking production funding on Kickstarter. The unit measures 17 x 25 x 5.5 centimeters (6.7 x 9.5 x 2.2 inches) to fit in a backpack, weighs 500 grams (just over a pound), and uses 30mm optics consisting of six lenses in three groups.
Light entering the system is directed through prisms and focused onto the camera array on the rear of the latest smartphones, and movable magnets help users align the main camera so it sits on Hestia’s eyepiece.
Specs such as sensor size and image clarity will depend on the smartphone used with the telescope, but magnification is up to 25x, and the setup works with a companion mobile app that uses a proprietary processing algorithm to convert massive The short exposure images are combined to form a single image through the lens to enhance the view of the night sky.
The app also provides users with an interactive sky map that helps in locating interesting targets as well as unit positioning for best results. For those who want to learn more about what they’re photographing, a library of astronomical information is just a tap away, providing an easy way for newcomers to stargazing or those curious about what’s out there method.
Hestia can also be fitted with solar filters to make sunspots visible and “help you understand how the sun behaves, how it affects space weather, and how it affects our planet.”
Early bird crowdfunding It starts at $149, though you’ll pay extra for the adjustable tripod, solar filter, and hard case set.
The usual crowdfunding caveats apply, but if all goes according to plan, already-funded campaign shipments are expected to begin in December – giving skywatchers plenty of time to prepare for the April 2024 total solar eclipse, expected to exceed 80 % of the people in the United States can see a total solar eclipse. The video below has more.
HESTIA is now live on Kickstarter! 🚀