TinyMOS reaches for the stars with world's smallest astronomy camera
Big names like Canon and Nikon have been making astro versions of their cameras for a good while, but none can be thought of as particularly small. In 2016, Singapore's TinyMOS made what it claimed was the world's smallest astronomy camera – the Tiny01. Now the company is back with an even smaller device called the Nano1.
The Tiny1 raised almost half a million US dollars by the close of the Indiegogo campaign in July, 2016, and shaped up to 113 x 69 x 22 mm (4.4 x 2.7 x 0.8 in) dimensions. TinyMOS has again selected the crowdfunding route for the production of its latest camera, but this time has launched on Kickstarter.
The Nano1 is much smaller than its predecessor, at 62.5 x 42 x 28.8 mm (2.46 x 1.65 x 1.13 in), and tips the scales at just 100 g (3.5 oz) with a 170 degree F2.8 kit lens mounted. The company makes a point of highlighting how much easier it is to travel to a spot in the countryside – where light pollution from towns or cities doesn't wash out the night sky – with a Nano1 and pocket tripod than it is to lug around a big DSLR, big lenses and a big tripod.
The camera packs a Sony IMX377 12 megapixel CMOS sensor, 2.33 inch IPS touch panel, a 1,200 mAh removable battery and microSD storage. It uses something called dark noise subtraction to deal with image noise in low light exposures, and TinyMOS says that skywatchers can look forward to recording 4K resolution video at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 120 fps or 720p at 240 fps, as well as snapping long exposure stills.
Interestingly, the Nano1 features a dual mount system where small M12 lenses can be attached to an inner mount or larger C-mount glass can be attached to the outer mount. It can also be attached directly to a compatible telescope in a reverse mount configuration known as prime focus, which is reported to significantly reduce exposure time without any field of view loss.
Preset exposure modes allow for easy access to optimized night sky capture settings, an augmented reality star map can be tethered to a smartphone – acting as a guide to constellations and galaxies – and dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi technology caters for remote operation and image/video transfer to a connected iOS/Android phone.
Nano1 Kickstarter pledges start at SGD 479 (about US$350) and, if all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in March 2019. The video below has more.