When will the iPhone 14 be announced? Will it have an always-on display? How about a version called iPhone 14 Max? As of this writing, that’s all yet to be seen, but I already know what the best new iPhone 14 accessory is because I’ve been using it for an entire month – and it’s out of this world.

Welcome to the Vanois Vesper, the most affordable and travel-friendly “smart telescope”, but with a definite Apple aesthetic. This 2 inch refractor telescope is white, curved and weighs only 11 lbs/5 kg. Sure, at $2,499 / £2,170 it’s not exactly cheap (blame supply chains for inflation, which has seen the price jump by around a third in recent weeks), but what he does with an iPhone under urban skies is amazing.

Able to cut through light pollution as if it weren’t there, this small, portable, self-contained telescope can only be used by an app called Singularity.

Here’s how it works and what kind of images it produces:

A night of observing with the Vespera has nothing to do with using a “good” telescope. It’s more like this:

  • Charge the Vespera using a USB-C cable, screw on its three tiny tripod legs and place it in your garden. Light pollution is not a problem.
  • Turn it on, connect your iPhone (or, yes, any smartphone) to its Wi-Fi network, then open the Singularity app.
  • The Vespera then uses its smart plate-solving AI technology to peek at the stars and align with its planetarium software. It uses your iPhone’s GPS chip to get its latitude and longitude. Five minutes later, it’s ready.
  • Choose a target in the Singularity app (from a real-time personalized list at your exact location) – perhaps Perseus’ “Double Cluster”, the stunning Andromeda Galaxy or the colorful “Star Nebula”. ‘dumbbell”. Thanks to its motorized mount, the Vespera will move to the object within a minute and start taking pictures.
  • When you stand next to the Vespera with the Singularity app open on your iPhone or iPad (or, whisper it, sit inside while watching TV), the object will slowly be revealed. That’s because the Vespera indulges in live image stacking, an advanced astrophotography technique that otherwise requires complicated setups and a lot of knowledge and free time.
  • Once you let the Vespera image an object for between 10 minutes and an hour, you are left with an incredibly bright and colorful image of the kinds of faint astronomical deep-sky objects (think galaxies, nebulae, and globular clusters) that ‘no backyard telescope will find in any kind of light pollution.
  • You can then share the image on social media, upload it to your iPhone camera roll, or even connect a laptop/computer to the Vespera’s Wi-Fi to access lossless raw TIFF and FITS files if you feel like it. try post-processing yourself (although you absolutely don’t need to).

You may have noticed that all of this is not about the eyepiece. Indeed, on smart telescopes like the Vespera, the light is focused only on a Sony image sensor, in this case the IMX462. The Vespera also cannot observe planets. He only makes a rudimentary stab at the Moon. This is only for deep sky.

A host of additional features are also available, from a well-designed backpack to carry it to the darkest skies – where, no doubt, it will perform at its best – to a larger tripod (recommended) and various filters for light pollution, nebula observation and solar observation.

The Vespera isn’t the last word in smart telescopes. Its images are HD (only two megapixels) and are a little soft. In this way, it is not as advanced as its big brother the Vanois Stellina ($3,999/£3,460) nor the eVscope 2 from rival brand Unistellar ($4,899/£4,199) or eVscope eQuinox ( $1,999/£1,749). Its battery only lasts four hours.

However, stupidly easy to use, maintain and travel with the Vanois Vespera, it has to be considered one of the best iPhone accessories for city dwellers with designs on the cosmos.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.