NANO1 - Beginnings

TinyMOS started in 2014 with the goal of “Bringing Astronomy to Everyone”.

 Sights like these makes us want to travel and explore (Disclaimer: Not taken by NANO1. The system is too new for in depth field tests)

Sights like these makes us want to travel and explore (Disclaimer: Not taken by NANO1. The system is too new for in depth field tests)

We noticed that existing astronomy equipment are heavy, expensive and complex. Often, they are an assortment of hardware and software equipment made by several different companies with complex instructions.

Although the existing equipment are good, its complexity is not inviting for new people interested in astronomy.

 James Webb Space Telescope - Not the telescope you would find in Joe’s backyard. But looking at this image, it looks simpler than most astronomy imaging telescopes we’ve seen.

James Webb Space Telescope - Not the telescope you would find in Joe’s backyard. But looking at this image, it looks simpler than most astronomy imaging telescopes we’ve seen.

We want to remove the complexity of existing astronomy equipment, to make it more approachable to beginners in astronomy. We need to find a way to make a camera that is smaller, smarter and more social.

Smaller

Using patented noise reduction technologies, we are able to improve the image quality of astronomy images captured by cameras. The improved image quality allowed us to use smaller sensors which used to perform worse than their larger siblings. This in turn, allows us to make use of smaller but high focal ratio lenses that is much more compact than lenses used for larger sensors.

A smaller system means that users are more likely to bring the cameras out for astronomy imaging, instead of collecting dust in a shed, which is a common fate of beginner telescopes.

The small size also means that users can travel to and explore more remote landscapes where light pollution is minimal and truly enjoy the experience of the night skies.

Smarter

Astronomy imaging is a technically demanding type of photography. Despite years of professional photography experience among the TinyMOS team, like everyone else, we did not know what to do to capture the night skies when we first experienced it.

There are technical concepts to astronomy imaging that is not common to other types of photography. For example the 500 rule states that the maximum exposure one can use is 500/focal length, before star trails starts appearing. Using the longest exposure possible allows us to use the lowest ISO, which reduces noise.

Such imaging concepts are not common as we’re mostly city dwellers. In the well lit cityscape that we live in, ISO do not exceed the capabilities of most modern cameras even at handheld shutter speeds.

Simplifying several of these rules into smart algorithms, we are able to provide automatic astronomy exposures to simplify astronomy imaging.

Many astronomy enthusiasts believe in teaching new comers such concepts, to gain better appreciation of the astronomy imaging process. We believe in simplifying them, to help new comers get inspired by the night skies before they learn more about such concepts to appreciate astronomy imaging. That way, they can join in the astronomy conversation and have a good time.

 Camping under the stars

Camping under the stars

Social

Humans are social creatures. Today, social media allows us to communicate with much more people than before. It allows us to maintain contact with more friends and stay in touch with their lives.

We believe that the astronomy experience should also be a social one. After all, the experience of the stars and constellations was once a common human condition that inspired folklore, stories and legends. Now, with light pollution across the world, over 80% of the world’s population can no longer see the Milky way and the night skies.

We hope that by making astronomy smaller and smarter, more people can go out and explore the night skies for themselves. And that the images captured should be shared with our friends and family to inspire more people towards astronomy.

We’ve built remote applications for our camera systems, to enable easy connectivity with your smart phones and sharing the images to social platforms.

 TINY1 camera

TINY1 camera

In 2016 we launched TINY1, the world’s smallest astronomy camera with the features above, which gained international recognition for innovative design - winning prestigious design awards including 2 Cannes Lions, Wood Pencil by DNAD and a nomination in SXSW.

 NANO1 functional prototype. Face plate 3D printed with SLS printer.

NANO1 functional prototype. Face plate 3D printed with SLS printer.


In 2018 the team decided to be more ambitious and designed the NANO1 as the TINY1’s successor.

NANO1 improves upon the TINY1 in several ways. The first one we would like to discuss in our blog is the size and portability of the NANO1 system.

Size & Portability:

NANO1-TINY1

The most notable change in the new camera is the 1/3 size and weight reduction over its predecessor, making it much more portable than the original - bringing us closer to our original vision of an unobtrusive astronomy camera that can be easily brought for travels, hikes and expedition into dark sky zones.

 NANO1 would be a “weightless” option for hikes to dark sites.

NANO1 would be a “weightless” option for hikes to dark sites.

Apart from the physical size, TinyMOS also aims to bring down the system size further. The camera now features a dual mount system allowing the use of very small M12 mount lenses and larger more capable optics in C mount format.

 NANO1 with assorted lenses with Apple iPhone X (TM) for size comparison

NANO1 with assorted lenses with Apple iPhone X (TM) for size comparison

NANO1 will launch ready with Android and iOS remote applications, to allow easy control, download and sharing of astronomy images captured to make the experience a more social one.

TinyMOS is also designing a series of accessories that packs flat. Such as, a mini Z-tripod mount, specifically for the NANO1 series. It features an integral Arca Swiss (TM) compatible rails, allowing it to be mounted on larger systems easily. The small Z-tripod also packs fully flat, making it truly portable.

 NANO1 functional prototype in aluminium shell with Z-tripod prototype printed with FDM printer.

NANO1 functional prototype in aluminium shell with Z-tripod prototype printed with FDM printer.

We hope that with your help, we can bring the NANO1 to you and the images of the night skies to the rest of the world.

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