When will the iPhone 14 be announced? Will it have an always-on screen? How about a version called iPhone 14 Max? At the time of writing there isn’t all that left, but I already know what the best new iPhone 14 accessory is because I’ve been using it for a whole month – and it’s out of this world.
Welcome to the Vanois Vespera, the most affordable and most travel-friendly “smart telescope” yet with an Apple-defining aesthetic. This 2-inch refractor telescope is white in color and curvy and weighs only 11 lbs / 5 kg. Sure, at $2,499 / £2,170 isn’t exactly cheap (blame supply chains for inflation, which has seen prices rise by about a third in recent weeks), but what you’re doing with the iPhone in the sky is unbelievable.
This small, portable, autonomous telescope is capable of cutting light pollution as if it didn’t even exist, and can only be powered by an app called Singularity.
Here’s how it works and the types of images it produces:
Night observations with a Vespera are not the same as using a “proper” telescope. Something like this happens:
- Charge the Vespera with a USB-C cable, and install its little tripod legs in the backyard. Light pollution is not a problem.
- Turn it on, connect your iPhone (or, yes, any smartphone) to its Wi-Fi network, then open the Singularity app.
- Vespera then uses smart AI technology to solve the panels to look at the stars and align with its planetarium software. It uses your iPhone’s GPS chip to get its latitude and longitude. Five minutes later he was ready.
- Choose a target in the Singularity app (from a menu customized in real-time for your exact location) – perhaps Perseus’ “double set”, the amazing Andromeda galaxy, or the colorful “Dumbbell Nebula”. Thanks to the motorized stand, the Vespera will move to the object within a minute and start taking pictures.
- When you stand next to a Vespera with the Singularity app open on your iPhone or iPad (or sit inside while watching TV), the object will slowly be revealed. That’s because Vespera indulges in live image stacking, an advanced astro-imaging technology that otherwise requires complex setups and a lot of knowledge and free time.
- Once you allow Vespera to image an object for between 10 minutes and an hour, you’re left with an incredibly bright and colorful image of the kinds of faint astronomical objects deep in the sky (think galaxies, nebulae, and globular clusters) that no backyard telescope would find in any kind. from light pollution.
- You can then share the image on social media, download it to your iPhone’s camera roll or even attach a laptop/computer to a WiFi Vespera to access your lost raw TIFF and FITS files if you want to do the post-processing yourself (although that) you absolutely don’t need to).
You may have noticed that in all of it there is no talk of the lens. This is because in smart telescopes like the Vespera light focuses only on a Sony image sensor, in this case the IMX462. And Vespera cannot observe planets. It’s just doing a primitive stab at the moon. This is for deep sky only.
A whole host of additional features are also available, from a well-made backpack to carry it into the darkest of weathers – where it will undoubtedly perform at its best – to a larger tripod (recommended) and various filters for light pollution, nebula-viewing and sun-viewing.
Vespera isn’t the last word on smart telescopes. Its high-resolution images – only 2 megapixels – are smooth to the touch. That way, it’s not quite as advanced as its big sister Vanois Stellina ($3,999 / £3,460) nor rival brand Unistellar’s eVscope 2 ($4,899/£4,199) or eVscope eQuinox ($1,999 / £1,749). Its battery lasts only four hours.
However, the Vanois Vespera is so easy to use, maintain, and stupidly travel that it should go down as one of the best iPhone accessories for city dwellers with designs on the universe.
I wish you a clear sky and wide eyes.