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Nokia Lumia 1020-powered ‘Ultrascope’ encourages amateur astrophotography

“We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.” – Carl Sagan.

Our obsession with space, the stars and worlds beyond our own have always intrigued us, and now keen amateur astronomers can 3D print their own telescope ‘Ultrascope’, powered by a Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone.

It’s not every day that we get to report on mobile devices being incorporated into robotic observatories, but one star-gazing innovator has created a way to use the Nokia Lumia 1020 to make home astrophotography even more accessible by using a 3D printer. Inventor, James Parr, is also the founder of the OSA (Open Space Agency) and is passionate about getting everyone from school children to retirees involved in photographing the Universe.

Parr’s invention, thought to be the first ever 3D-printed automated robotic observatory, is called the ‘Ultrascope’ and makes it possible to use your mobile device to capture professional quality images of the sky and celestial bodies for a fraction of the cost of other equipment.

He said: “We’re inspired that we live in an era where consumer technology now allows us to do things that were only exclusively available to professionals just a few years ago. Keen amateur astronomers can now download this design and software, 3D print and assemble their own hardware, which is an amazing development. It opens up opportunities for people who have been gazing at the stars their whole lives, but haven’t, until now, been able to get involved. Powered by Lumia smartphones, our hope is that hundreds of Ultrascopes will be assembled, enabling a large number of people to contribute to new discoveries as they explore the night sky.”

The device is currently in beta and will be downloadable as a 3D plan from the OSA website once it’s deemed fit for public consumption, with more sophisticated models being developed in the next 12 to 18 months, with Microsoft assisting development to enable the Lumia 1020 to be used with the telescope.


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