An astronomer released a very impressive photo of the Milky Way, taken with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Tom Kerss, responsible for the capture, claimed to have used the mode ProRAW phone camera, and that the image “is not even the best possible result with the phone”.

Image: Tom Kerss

No Twitter, Kerss expressed appreciation for the device's capabilities. “We need to talk about the astrophotographic potential of modern smartphone cameras. This image was taken from data captured using an iPhone 12 Pro Max. The sensor pixels are only 1,7 microns! It's ridiculously capable for its size and provides usable data thanks to 12-bit DNG – ProRAW,” he posted on the microblog.


In the image, you can see the Summer Triangle in a bright region of the Milky Way (star clouds in the spiral arm we inhabit), as well as a meteor (possibly one of the first of the Perseids).

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ProRAW mode is only available on iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max

Milky Way images are usually produced by taking multiple photos, which are stacked in the edit. Some involve 30 or more separate shots, with different exposures, used to capture the foreground and night sky. The need for multiple exposures of the Milky Way is to determine what is a star and what is noise in the image.

Shooting in RAW is always advisable to maximize the data that can be extracted from the image and to be able to adjust the white balance. Apple's own RAW mode implementation, ProRAW, is only available on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max.

Kerss is a freelance astronomer who was a Public Astronomy Officer at Greenwich Observatory, In London. He has a free online course on stargazing on his website, Stargazing London.

With website information 9to5mac.

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