Pixel 3, Pixel 3a and even the Pixel 2 receive the new astrophotography feature
Google added several new features for the Pixel 4 line this year including a "secure" Face unlock (that for now unlocks the phone with the user's eyes closed), a 90Hz refresh rate for the display (that still has some restrictions following an update), and Motion Sense. Using Google's radar-based Soli chip, the user can dismiss an alarm, silence a phone call and skip through streaming content with a wave of the hand.
The new Pixel models also feature a second camera on the back for the first time. Besides the usual 12.2MP sensor, there is a 16MP telephoto camera with a 2x optical zoom. But as usual with the Pixel's photographic capabilities, the genius is in the software. Google's latest handsets carry an improved version of Night Sight, which is used to take viewable photos in dark and low-light conditions. With this new version of Night Sight, Pixel 4 users can partake in astrophotography and snap stunning pictures of the night sky.
When the camera is in astrophotography mode, the phone should be placed on a tripod or kept steady by a rock or via some other method. The phone will snap 15 exposures over four minutes. Using AI, the exposures are aligned to account for any movement during the 240 seconds. Pixel 4 users have been taking gorgeous photos of the stars and night sky.
And in typical Google fashion, the company announced earlier this month that the astrophotography feature will be coming to older Pixel models (as will the Recorder app that produces transcriptions on-device in real-time). According to Digital Trends, version 7.2 of the Camera app is rolling out today bringing the astrophotography mode to not only Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a users, but Pixel 2 users as well. Unfortunately for those with an OG Pixel, Google is ending its support of the 2016 models with one last update scheduled for next month. Google Camera 7.2 also adds some UI changes such as larger text and buttons and it brings the camera experience on the older models more in line with what Pixel 4 users have.
Keep in mind that the astrophotography feature does not show up as a separate setting on the app. Once a Pixel user is in Night Sight mode, the phone will recognize when it is being pointed at the dark sky and will show a prompt indicating that the astrophotography mode is enabled.
Version 7.2 of the Google Camera app requires that older Pixel units receiving the update be running on Android 10. You can find the app in the Google Play Store.