Google Explains Pixel 4’s Astrophotography Capabilities

Posted on November 27, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Google, Mobile with 5 Comments

The Pixel 4 extends Google’s Night Sight low-light photography feature to include astrophotography capabilities. This week, Google Research explained how it works.

By allowing exposures up to 4 minutes on Pixel 4, and 1 minute on Pixel 3 and 3a, the latest version of Night Sight makes it possible to take sharp and clear pictures of the stars in the night sky or of nighttime landscapes without any artificial light,” Google Research’s Florian Kainz and Kiran Murthy write. “With the phone on a tripod, Night Sight produces sharp pictures of star-filled skies, and as long as there is at least a small amount of moonlight, landscapes will be clear and colorful.”

The engineers’ explanation of this capability is, by definition, complex. Basically, the camera has to mitigate star motion over long exposures while using AI during and after the shot to correct imperfections including noise, light, hot pixels, and more.

As good, Google has also published a document for Pixel 4, 3, and 3a users who wish to take the best-possible astrophotography shots. Definitely worth checking out.

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Comments (5)

5 responses to “Google Explains Pixel 4’s Astrophotography Capabilities”

  1. skolvikings

    I used my iPhone 11 Pro Max to take a photo of the stars. I believe it was a 30s exposure. It's really neat that the Pixel will correct star motion. The stars in my photo had ever so slightly moved so they were no longer dots.

  2. m_p_w_84

    neat but very niche

  3. dcdevito

    Serious question - is this something most people want?

    • wosully

      In reply to dcdevito:

      I won't use it much, but every year we hike in a national park: I have seen stars there that are just stunning. I would use the phone then, put it down, then enjoy.

  4. orbsitron

    I would LOVE this on my iPhone 11 Pro. I have an SLR and star photography requires a ton of setup, and then complex post processing to compensate for motion, to extract muted colors, etc. I never successfully accomplished it.

    Google automating all of that is just awesome.

    Well done Google. Pay attention, please, Apple!!!