That meteor shower thing. Want to capture it?

So, I’ve told you how to see the International Space Station easily, now let’s move onto that meteor shower everyone is talking about.

Yes, you’ll be needing your phone again. Yes, you’ll be stood in your garden at night using the camera on your phone. Yes, it’s possible that your neighbours will think your either a peeping Tom or just a bit nuts, but bear with me.

This all started because I was watching the local weather. It’s the usual setup, some dude in a bad suit reads the local news and then hands over to a glamorous news girl who, apparently, talks about something. Before the lovely weather lady waves her hands around she usually shows a collection of photos taken by viewers. These last few nights it’s been photos of stars, comets and clouds at night.

But how do you capture these shots?

Well, you could go out and get yourself a professional camera but then you’d have to spend money and perhaps learn how to use it even. Pish to that.

That meteor shower thing. Want to capture it?

So, I had a look around Google Play and found a few options based on my budget of £0. Eventually I ended up with LE Cam Free, which takes long-exposure shots by blending together several photos taken in sequence. There’s a few settings you can choose, including the ability to brighten each shot, reduce noise and set the outside brightness level. I popped outside last night and took a few shots with this and, although I couldn’t really see any stars or comets, it produced some rather good images as you can see below.

First you need to go out in the dark, next you’ll need to decide how long you’d like to take images for. I chose 20 seconds, so you’ll need to get the phone setup and put it somewhere so it doesn’t move. Leave it for 20 seconds, let it process and .. boom!

The free edition captures images at 80% quality and adds a watermark, but you can get the full version for a mere 84p.

That meteor shower thing. Want to capture it?

That meteor shower thing. Want to capture it?

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  • the_prof

    Nice thought, quite cool results there considering.

    I’d always thought you would be able to capture longer exposure shots by manipulating the camera device itself, but as it turns out, very few of the lower level features are exposed by the API on either Windows or Android. i’m sure it’s something one could hack in the device driver if one was that way inclined, but I doubt it would be particularly easy. It think it has much to do with how the devices are calibrated when they are manufactured too.

    Hopefully some of the higher-end camera phones will support some of these more professional settings. I’m led to believe the Nokia 1020 offers this feature (change exposure), along with a few others.