Astrophotography with a raspberry pi

3d Printable Pi cam telescope eyepiece

This post will cover the basics of how I use a 3D printed camera mount to take photos of the moon using a Raspberry Pi cam. My telescope has a 1.5 inch eyepiece but you can download the 3D printable file and adjust the size to fit your needs. I am using a Raspberry Pi 3 running Raspbian, using a regular Pi cam. Then using an android phone app I can take pictures and view them on my phone seconds later.
I plan to take this setup to some remote locations. I chose to use a GoPro flex arm attachment and SmartiPi case for now so I can quickly attach and remove the Raspberry pi from the telescope. I picked up the flex arm for around $12 on amazon, and the SmartiPi case was about $25 from MCM electronics with a GoPro mount built in. These work for now, maybe bring some zip ties to keep the Raspberry Pi attached, remember the telescope with be slewing up and down, and the Pi may try to fall off!!
SmartiPi Case Complete Kit for Raspberry Pi - Grey

SmartiPi Case Complete Kit for Raspberry Pi - Grey

SmartiPi Case Complete Kit for Raspberry Pi - Grey What could be better than LEGOr + Raspberry Pi? This SmartiPi case has a LEGOr compatible 6 x 10 front plate so you can keep your Raspberry Pi B+ or Pi 2 safe and let your creativity run wild. The included camera holder fits the both the regular or Pi Noir cameras, and the integrated GoPror compatible mount gives you plenty of mounting options.

Now simply slide the mount over the eyepiece. It is tight, so try spinning it as you take it on and off. Use a little bit of tape or foam on the inside if it is too loose for you. Then adjust the height as you see fit, I have best luck about 1/2 inch off the eyepiece.
Now slide the Pi cam into the 3D printed piece. I like that it can come off easily in case the PI itself falls off the telescope it won't rip the camera cable or damage the connector.
Using the battery bank I bought with my telescope, I can power both the telescope and the Raspberry Pi using the Usb port. This is my mobile astro-photography setup. The battery bank usually powers the telescope 2.5 hours, with the Raspberry Pi's low power consumption I hope to average 2 hours of battery life.
I use my phone as a wifi hotspot to create a network to connect the phone to the Pi in remote locations. I've already setup Raspbian on the Pi and pre-configured the network connection, so It connects to the phone hotspot automatically. I've had best result using the android phone app RaspiCam Remote It has a video mode that allows me to see what the telescope sees so I can line up the shot. Try using apps like VNCviewer for remote desktop access, You can then run python scripts to take custom photos. Or use the app RaspManager with it's built in photo system we can take pictures, and download them to the phone quickly,but no preview to line up your shot. Below are photos of the moon taken from the 8MP Pi cam!! Very happy with the results now to take this setup into the mountains for some clearer sky's. Thanks for reading!

video of RaspiCam remote app

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1 thought on “Astrophotography with a raspberry pi

  1. Thats so damn coool!!!!

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