Phone Astrophotography: How To Capture The Milky Way

Phone Astrophotography. How to Capture the milky way.

Equipment for Phone Astrophotography

For astrophotography using your phone, you'll need minimal equipment. Just your phone and a tripod or a stable surface to support it.

Photographing the Milky Way Galaxy with Your Phone

Start by cleaning your phone's lens, then place it on a tripod or a stable surface. Ensure that your camera is pointed towards the galaxy. If you're having trouble locating the Milky Way, consider using an app like Stellarium.

Pro Mode and Astrophotography 

Switch your phone to Pro Mode. To capture the light from the stars, we need to adjust our camera settings and take a long exposure photo.

Phone Astrophotography. What is Pro Mode

Long Exposure in Astrophotography

Begin your experimentation with a Shutter Speed of 15 seconds and an ISO setting of 1000. Keep in mind that every situation is unique, so you'll need to use a trial-and-error approach until you're satisfied.

If your photos appear too bright, reduce the ISO setting. If your photos show star trails, try using a faster shutter speed and increasing your ISO.

Phone Astrophotography. ISO and Shutter Speed

White Balance in Phone Astrophotography

White Balance in astrophotography is a matter of preference, but I would recommend using either the Daylight setting or a Custom White balance around 4000-5000K.

💡Tip

By default, your phone will capture images in .jpg format, but we recommend using the RAW format if you plan to edit your photos.

Focus Mode in Astrophotography 

While in Pro Mode, switch your camera to Manual Focus and set it to focus on the stars or infinity. Manual focus is necessary because cameras have difficulty autofocusing in low-light conditions.

Phone Astrophotography Settings

Timer in Astrophotography

Add a 5-second timer. Using a timer helps minimize camera shakes, reducing motion blur.

💡Tip

Some phones come with built-in long exposure modes specifically designed for astrophotography. Feel free to explore your camera app settings and experiment.

Best Dates for Astrophotography in 2024

The best dates for astrophotography feature moonless skies, preventing the moon from reflecting light and allowing the galaxy and stars to shine brightly in your photos. Here is the list of moonless nights (new moon) for 2024.

  • January 11th
  • February 10th
  • March 10th
  • April 8th
  • May 8th
  • June 6th
  • July 6th
  • August 4th
  • September 3rd
  • October 2nd
  • November 1st
  • December 1st
  • December 31st

Tip💡

Keep in mind that every location has a slightly different time and date for new moons, so it is highly recommended to use this website in order to be sure when the new moon is in your region.

Make sure that the calendar you are using is for 2024.

    Astrophotography Locations

    The ideal location for astrophotography is one with minimal light pollution, ideally situated far from the city. The less ambient light there is, the more the stars will shine in your photos.

    If you're uncertain about the light pollution in your location, This website might be helpful to you.

    Phone Astrophotography Location and Light Pollution

    In Conclusion

    To photograph the galaxy, you'll need to switch your phone to Pro Mode, mount it on a tripod and take a long exposure photo. 

    Ideally, choose a location with minimal light pollution on a moonless night for the best results.

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