Hestia is the newest innovation that Vaonis has created exciting those in the astronomy and astrophotography communities. The company recently launched its Kickstarter for Hestia and with only a week since launch, it has already accumulated over $1 million in pledges and over 3,700 backers. Suffice it to say, people can't wait to get their hands on this telescope.
Not only is it affordable at $189, but it is small enough to put into a backpack and turns your phone into a camera capable of seeing objects in space! Find out more about this small device making a huge impact.
About Hestia - Turn Your Smartphone into a Telescope
Who could have expected a telescope that turns your smartphone into a deep-sky imaging camera so soon after the creation of a smart telescope? Well, it's real and it's available for order via pledge on Kickstarter.
Hestia is the newest addition to the French company Vaonis' lineup. It's the smallest and most exciting telescope yet! It gives you the power to observe the night sky with your smartphone.
What Makes Hestia Revolutionary?
Smart telescopes have been a polarizing subject within the astrophotography community. When Stellina, Vaonis' first smart telescope was introduced, it was met with hesitance. Groundbreaking things tend to have that effect and those who sided with the smart telescope movement provided support - in full or out of curiosity/skepticism. After all, the smart telescope promised to not only take photos of deep-sky objects but also stacked and processed the images for you.
In any case, that ended up being great for Vaonis as it succeeded in its efforts and continued refining and minimizing its instruments.
That leads us to Hestia - and its features which seem small but make a grand impact.
A popular trend in technology is making products smaller and Hestia is no different. This is its most notable physical feature. The Kickstarter information notes that the "telescope" is 6.7 x 9.5 x 2.2 in (17 x 24 x 5,5 cm).
This means Hestia's size is smaller than a sheet of paper (8x11 in) and it is about as thick as a textbook. The device weighs 1.1 lbs (500g) making it the smallest and lightest of the Vaonis lineup.
Hestia In-Depth Specs:
Size: 6.7 x 9.5 x 2.2 in (17 x 24 x 5,5 cm)
Weight: 1.1 lbs (500g)
Aperture: 30mm (1.2 in)
Application: Sun, Moon, Deep-sky objects
Optic Design: 6 lenses in 3 groups
Field of View: 1.8 degrees
Image Formats: JPEG, TIFF
Limiting Magnitude: 7-8
Tripod Compatibility: Tripod with pan and tilt fluid head and 3/8" thread
This instrument is small and lightweight, making it perfectly portable. Imagine it: a way to observe space anywhere you go for the equivalent of carrying around a school textbook (perhaps even lighter!).
Its size and portability make it simple for astronomy enthusiasts and those starting out in astrophotography to get out and look up. Convenience is a quality that is appealing to the masses, and there's nothing more convenient than a stellar device you can travel with. You can put it into a bag or backpack with ease and it sounds too good to be true, yet there it is.
A true test of portability is whether can it fit in a carry-on and Hestia passes with flying colors. Astrophotographers traveling to dark locations hoping to capture deep-sky objects can do so without the struggle of a full rig. Casual astronomers can share their passion for the night sky with friends and family and keep them entertained.
One of the make or break points of a product is its price.
While a device as innovative as Hestia can be predicted as costly, it is available via pledge for $189 - the EARLY BIRD price.
This is the lowest-priced bundle, which comes with Hestia (the telescope), a tripod, and a dust cover. This is all that is needed to start observing the night sky.
There are other packages to pledge for which you can find here, but the EARLY BIRD - Solo Pack and EARLY BIRD - Eclipse Pack have already sold out.
Being the first of its kind, Hestia's a revolutionary step to making astrophotography and observing the sky more accessible, easy to carry, and most importantly incredibly simple to use.
Additional accessories will be available as well, such as a finder, laser, and most importantly, a motorized tracking mount!
Applications of Hestia
As if it couldn't get better - Hestia's features don't stop at the physical capabilities. It's equipped to handle observation and imaging of different objects in the sky - and not just at night.
1. Solar Observation
Like its predecessor, Vespera, Hestia can also view the Sun! With a custom solar filter, you can choose to view our star and monitor its activity. Now more than ever, people are enjoying solar observation and you can do it easily with Hestia.
2. Lunar Photography
This instrument's capabilities don't stop there. If you enjoy taking photos of the Moon, you're in luck! Hestia can do lunar photography with great quality. Take photos or observe our natural satellite live through Hestia's app - Gravity.
3. Deep-sky Imaging
Last but certainly not least, this instrument allows you to photograph deep-sky objects. Capture images of distant nebulae, galaxies, or star clusters with Hestia.
As its Kickstarter states: Seize the Day and the Night.
Other Notes About Hestia
For those familiar with Vaonis' family of products, you will find that there are two key differences with Hestia that we noticed that are worth taking note of.
Hestia is "Future Proof"
Like most technology, some equipment can quickly become obsolete and it's a concern for people investing in a smart telescope. However, Vaonis made it a point to not only ensure that Hestia will be around for a long time, but will also get better as new versions of phones increase camera quality. The smart telescope is also compatible with Apple and Android phones.
New App - Gravity for Hestia
Vaonis developed apps for its smart telescopes. Both Vespera and Stellina operate with the app Singularity by Vaonis. However, Hestia comes with its very own companion app - Gravity by Vaonis. This was a surprise, but after checking out its features, we can see why.
Below are the features of Gravity:
Interactive Sky Map
Deep Sky Catalog
Help for Alignment
With what we've seen in Singularity, Day Mode is similar to "Solar Mode" and we're familiar with toggling between the two for daytime observation. We anticipate that the Interactive Sky Map will be the most exciting addition. We can only guess what it will be like but looking at the promotional image to the right, it appears like an AR feature that will allow you to see objects in the sky.
The app is still under wraps at the time this article was written. There is no solid confirmation on what the user interface looks like, but with this list of features, we know that it's been adapted specifically for Hestia.
Check out the Hestia Kickstarter to see pricing and make a pledge.
Love Space Photography? Learn With Our Astrophotography Course
If you would like more in-depth explanations about how to take photos of space, consider purchasing a lifetime membership for the Galactic Course.
We provide more details and step-by-step directions on how to set up, photo/video editing, and how to use a star tracker.
You will be able to get fantastic images of both star trails, and any type of time-lapses.
Smart telescopes are a simpler way for people to view and take photos of the night sky. While they are often demonized for being too simple or easy to use, that's exactly what makes them special. As astrophotographers, we are partial to our huge setup and have a collection of large and bulky telescopes and still use them even when we have a smart telescope at hand.
However, we acknowledge the incredible power of these small but powerful instruments. Vaonis is making a splash with the first telescope compatible with smartphones. While we're still unsure that it only offers built-in processing, with what we've seen in previous smart telescopes, the results are still impressive. The new app, Gravity, will be exciting to navigate once it's officially launched. Last but not least, we are blown away by the forward-thinking that Vaonis has done to essentially "future-proof" their newest invention. All we can say is that we can't wait to test it out ourselves for astrophotography and the 2024 eclipse.