The ability to capture the starry sky is one of the "signature" features of Google Pixel smartphones and now our colleagues at The Verge have highlighted its partial disappearance on the Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, specifically on the second camera module.
For the first time, the last two Google terminals take on board a new ultra wide-angle module, equivalent to 16mm (diagonal angular coverage of 107°) and equipped with a 16Mpix sensor. According to the images shared by some users, the images of the ultra wide-angle module are much more disappointing when the classic wide-angle module (27mm equivalent) behaves perfectly in "astrophotography" mode: the digital noise is very strong and there is a colorimetric Shift towards green.
So it seems that Google's software engineers preferred to disable this feature in the last update of the Google Camera app (version 8.1). You've got your work cut out for you: while controlling color drift seems trivial, digital noise quality is a tall order for a sensor that's both smaller and more pixel-dense than the main module's sensor.
Google should have done like Apple and stayed with a 12 Mpix sensor. Given the huge interest ultra wide angle has in astrophotography, we hope Google engineers will resolve this issue as soon as possible.