Sunday, April 14, 2024
Smartphone news

Vaonis Hestia: The Smartphone-based Telescope

The Vaonis Hestia ‘smart’ telescope has gained attention after its successful Kickstarter campaign. Over 10,000 backers have pledged more than $2.5 million for this innovative cameraphone accessory. Vaonis, a telescope maker based in France, has previously released two ambitious telescopes, the Vespera and Stellina, which have been well received in the market. With the Hestia, Vaonis aims to create the first-ever smartphone-based telescope.

Unlike traditional telescopes, the Vaonis Vespera and Stellina connect to your phone and allow you to view the skies through their Gravity app. However, with price tags of $1,499 and $3,999 respectively, these telescopes are only accessible to enthusiasts or those with deep pockets. The Hestia, on the other hand, uses your cameraphone to take pictures and connects to your phone in a different way. It is the size of a book and features magnetic brackets to hold your phone and align its camera lens with the ocular, providing 25x magnification and a sharper image.

The Hestia offers the opportunity to observe the moon, the complete solar eclipse in April 2024, and even more distant planets. It takes just a couple of minutes to align your phone with the Hestia, and the accompanying Gravity app provides sophisticated astronomy tools for composing sky shots. Compatibility is not an issue, as the Hestia works with iOS or Android devices up to five years old.

The exciting news is that the Hestia ‘Solo Pack’ will be priced at $249, making it affordable for a wider audience compared to Vaonis’ other telescopes. Kickstarter backers can also benefit from a 20% discount. Additional packs, such as the ‘Standard Pack’ with a tripod and the ‘Solar Pack’ with a hard case and solar filter for the 2024 solar eclipse, are available.

While the Hestia may lack some of the motorized features of its predecessors, it promises to be a smart telescope accessible to everyone. Its expected delivery date is December 2023, in time for the US solar eclipse. If the Hestia lives up to expectations, we can anticipate a surge in novice astrophotographers in the coming years.


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