The saying goes, “your cell phone has more computing power than all of NASA in 1969. NASA launched a man to the moon. We launched a bird into pigs.”
Thankfully, in addition to launching furious balls of feathers into evil swine, we also use our phones for taking photographs. And just as our phones have more computing power than all of NASA in 1969, our phones also have better imaging capabilities than many of the astrophotography endeavors of the past.
Case in point is the above image featuring a comparison of two almost identical photos taken of the Orion Nebula, but done so over a century apart, with very different gear.
On the left you have the first photograph ever captured of the Orion Nebula. Taken in 1880 by physician and amateur astronomer Henry Draper. With complete access to an observatory and its accompanying tools, Draper used “an 11-inch Clark Brothers photographic refractor” to capture the image with an approximate exposure time of 51 minutes.
On the right you have an image taken in 2013 by Andrew Symes, an amateur astrophotographer. What did he use to capture his photograph over 130 years later? Nothing more than an iPhone and amateur telescope with an exposure time of approximately a second.