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The Vaonis Hestia gives users a closer look at the moon, sun and stars, but it’s far from a traditional telescope. It’s designed to let beginners use their iPhone to view the heavens, easily find the celestial objects they want to see, and then photograph them.
It’s also quite portable. It’s ready to go with you to escape light pollution.
iPhone + telescope = Instagram-ready pictures of the Sun, Moon, etc.
Don’t waste your time using an iPhone to take pictures of the Moon. They never come out. And absolutely do not point your iPhone camera at the Sun. A backyard telescope can be a better option for looking at the cosmos, but few of these are Instagram friendly. Taking a picture of something seen through a typical amateur telescope is often a trial.
But the Vaonis Hestia makes the smartphone part of the viewing experience. It uses a 30 mm (1.18 in) lens and prisms to collect and focus incoming light onto the camera sensor of an iPhone.
The 25x telescope can be used to look at the Sun, including sunspots, through the solar filter. Or enjoy the Moon, the planets and other celestial objects.
The Gravity by Vaonis app helps locate objects with an interactive sky map, and also offers an education on the cosmos.
In addition, the software helps users take Instagram-ready pictures. The app can combine multiple short-exposure images captured by a smartphone and the telescope into a single high-quality photograph.
Hestia is about the size and weight of a book, so it’s travel friendly. The actual size is 9.5 inches by 6.7 inches by 2.2 inches and 1.1 pounds. It sits on a tripod to allow it to be pointed at the sky.
The device supports a wide range of smartphones, iPhone and Android. It requires no power.
Up for crowdsourcing
Vaonis Hestia is now available for preorder on the crowdsourcing site Kickstarter. The advantage of preordering is a deal on the price. The Early Bird version with a tripod is $189 — that’s 35% off the regular price. The solar filter is an additional $39.
The drawback of preordering is the wait. Vaonis says its telescope will launch in December 2023. The Kickstarter campaign is already fully funded, so the device will be produced.