Smartphones have certainly seen a ton of refinements and improvements in terms of technological prowess and hardware over the years. In fact, one of the most continuous hardware evolutions we’ve seen with most handsets is with camera hardware. We’re in a day and age where even $299 phones can capture stunning images, comparable to the quality found in flagship smartphones. But what if we were to tell you that you can soon use your smartphone’s camera as a high-powered telescope?
At least that’s what Vaonis, an astronomy tech company seeks to achieve. Vaonis has went all-in to promote its Kickstarter project named Hestia, which has so far raised $1.5 million in its funding campaign. Simply put, Hestia is a portable telescope attachment that uses smartphone sensors to photograph stars and other heavenly bodies. Hestia is currently available for pre-orders on Kickstarter, and Vaonis says that there’s still time for interested backers to pre-order the product over on Kickstarter, until August 17.
Cyril Dupuy, founder of Vaonis described the project, stating:
“The Stellina and Vespera smart telescopes have been worldwide successes since their launch. This year, we are pushing back the limits of miniaturization with a new innovation: Hestia. To reduce costs and offer a telescope that is truly accessible to all, we have relied on the most powerful and widely adopted technology: your smartphone.”
Designed to be no larger than a book, the Vaonis telescope is based on an optical system consisting of a 30 mm (1.18 in) lens and prisms to collect and focus the light directly into the camera sensor of a smartphone. Users can place their smartphone on the device to align its camera with Hestia’s eyepiece. Hestia also works with the “Gravity by Vaonis” companion app, which allows users to observe and navigate a built-in sky map.
Vaonis adds that it’s planning to launch the product to coincide with a predicted solar eclipse that’s set to darken skies on April 8, 2024. Kickstarter orders begin at around $149, with the Solo Pack going for $189. Meanwhile, Hestia’s retail price will go for around $229 once it finally becomes available to the general public.