Nov 15, 2016 | By Benedict

Using 3D printing and a Raspberry Pi, tech tinkerer TJ Emsley has created an astrophotography device to capture the much-talked-about “supermoon” that appeared 30% brighter and 14% larger on Monday. Another supermoon is due to appear in December.

November’s supermoon, easily the lunar event of 2016, is still hot on the agenda, and makers (if they’re quick) can now capture the moon in its all its glorious proximity using a 3D printed astrophotography device. TJ Emsley has assembled the device using 3D printed mounts, a Raspberry Pi with its official camera module, and a Tasco 45X refractor telescope. The astrophotography system can be used to take high-resolution images of celestial objects.

Each month, a full moon occurs when the sun, Earth, and moon line up in, with the moon on the other side of the Earth to the sun. When the moon’s orbit brings it to its closest point to Earth, it is labeled a “supermoon,” appearing brighter and larger than usual as the giant orb circles closer to the planet. This month’s supermoon, the first seen since 1948, is also known as a Beaver Moon, because it arrives at the time of year when hunters in the Northern hemisphere would traditionally set traps before the freezing of the waters, in order to collect enough fur for winter.

Tinkerer Emsley built his device to capture this month’s spectacular moment, and now you can do the same—if not for this supermoon, then at least for next month’s slightly less impressive version. One downside of December’s supermoon is that it will obscure the Geminid meteor shower, which will appear considerably less bright as the moon shines on. The next time the moon will appear as large as it did this week will be November 25, 2034, so we suggest keeping the 3D printed device in a clearly labeled box for that particular sighting.

Using a Raspberry Pi, its camera module, a $10 USB shield, wireless NIC, and 3D printed parts, Emsley was able to kit out his powerful telescope to take high-res images of the supermoon. Files for the 3D printed bracket, available for either 1” eyepieces or 1.25” eyepieces, are available on Thingiverse, and the other components won’t break the bank. The Pi runs code written by the tech wizard himself, and allows for image preview and exposure adjustments, as well as the option to capture in video or still images. To avoid camera shake, the shutter can also be triggered remotely using a keyboard.

Although he has not yet done so, Emsley plans to publish the entire project on GitHub. The tinkerer previously made an astrophotography device using the camera of a Nokia Lumia smartphone. Recommended printing settings for the 3D printed bracket are: 0.2 mm layer height, 25% infill, no rafts, no supports. Frankly, you’d be a lunatic not to follow those guidelines.



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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