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ProStar Mobile Phone Finderscope - AstroShop

The Mobile Phone Finder Scope

Using your favourite mobile phone app and ProStar smart phone mounting bracket to find objects in the sky both day and night.


I have to admit, I can be a little slow to pick up on the numerous new gadgets and technology that sometimes make our lives more easy. There's nothing new about GPS based pointing devices but as mobile phones have improved and new mobile apps have become available (some free), finding objects in the sky has never been so easy easy. While we've been selling these mobile phone mounts for a while now, I decided to get off my backside and put one into practice myself just to see how helpful it really could be. Unlike many, instead of an Android based phone for which there appears to be endless app programs available for, my excuse is being a Windows 7 phone user and once I found that the terrific Stellarium software was finally available for a Windows phone, I quickly downloaded the free application.

Playing around with it for about a week using the live GPS live movement mode that shows stars rolling across the sky from East to West and North to South as I moved the phone, this app seemed pretty damned accurate. Not choosing an easy night time set up I did my first test by mount the ProStar Mobile Phone mounting bracket in the finder scope shoe  of a little 80mm refractor mounted on a classic Vixen Porta Mount II. (I love my Porta mount :-) nothing like the original and the very best. )
However, my interest this day was the planet Venus because while still safely several degrees from the Sun but difficult enough to find visually given its phase of illumination was only 2.2%. So fitting the telescope with a safety solar filter (never look at the Sun directly without a Baader or Thousand Oaks Optical safety aperture filter) I adjusted the Vixen X-Y fine adjustment mount so that the Sun was shown in the Stellarium app software centred on the screen as seen in the telescope eyepiece.



 


Left & above: Shows a classic smart phone mounted in our ProStar smart phone camera mount which in turn is mounted on a Vixen X-Y fine adjustment platform. The dovetail shoe supplied with the mobile phone bracket is removed from the bracket and fixed to the base of the Vixen X-Y fine adjust so the whole assembly can be seated in to the conventional Vixen style finderscope mounting shoe of the telescope. Every thing is standard 1/4 inch whitworth threaded screws. You simply align the mobile phone with celestial application running in live GPS mode to the view in the primary telescope as you would with any visual crosshair finder scope.


I used a classic Vixen 30mm NPL Super Plössl eyepiece to ensure I'd have enough field of view. Simply zooming in on the Sun for more accuracy, I tweaked the Vixen X-Y fine adjustment mount accordingly. Once aligned like any finder scope, I then used the Stellarium mobile phone app search function and typed in "Venus". It then put its crosshair to where the planet was situated. I then turned the ALT-AZ controllers of the Vixen Porta Mount II untill Venus as shown in Stellarium was centre screen. Double checking to ensure the Sun was way out of the general direction, I carefully removed the solar safety aperture filter. Sure enough, I could see the slither crescent of Venus just on the edge of the eyepiece field of view. A little fine scope mount adjustment and I was gazing at our hell-like sister planet in broad daylight thank to a mobile phone celestial software tool.

ProStar Smart Phone bracket altered for use with Vixen X-Y fine adjust mount

I've since done this for finding many star clusters, planets and galaxies with ultimate ease. Just be sure you align (centre) correctly the view in your smart phone celestial software to the view in the primary telescope first and use a low power eyepiece while setting up.
  


BUY the Smart Phone Finderscope mount

BUY the Vixen X-Y fine adjust adaptor

Note: AstroShop reviews are only intended to provide prospective purchasers our own first hand impressions of performance and build as has been our long time policy.

 

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