Clay's Astronomy Page

Updated 17 October 2012 - Added external link

Here are some of the photos I've made of astronomical objects. A great source of other amateur astrophotos and professional astro-art is Astronomy magazine. Also check out some of the great images taken by various NASA missions and the Hubble Space Telescope. You can help to promote the exploration of space by joining The Planetary Society and The National Space Society. If you're looking for a collection of interesting astronomy activities for kids, you'll find it at the Overnight Prints Learning Center.

Also see my Transit of Venus page for my photos of the 08 June 2004 event.

Comet Hyakutake - Spring 1996

Image: Comet Hyakutake

The above shot was taken through a north-facing window as the comet passed over Earth's north polar region. Numerous background stars are also visible.

Saturn

Image: Saturn

I took this at the prime focus of an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (essentially a 2000 mm lens). You can follow the progress of the Cassini Mission to Saturn right here on the Web.

Venus in Daytime

Image: Venus in Daytime

I took this at the prime focus of the above-described telescope through a 2x Barlow lens on Kodachrome 25 film. I enlarged the frame to 11 x 17 inches, cropped it to 4 x 5 inches, and printed it on Cibachrome. The total magnification at 4 x 5 is approximately 240x relative to the naked-eye appearance of Venus from Earth. I took the photo near midday on a particularly clear May 8, 1977 and submitted it to Astronomy Magazine, which published it with a February 1978 article titled "Observing Venus".

The Moon

Image: The Moon

This shows the moon at 1st Quarter phase. Several dark lava flows can be seen, and one of them is noticeably streaked by a bright ray of ejecta from a large crater just over the limb.

Lunar Eclipse Sequence

Image: Lunar Eclipse

The sequence begins with a full moon. As the Earth's penumbral shadow begins to encroach upon it, the moon darkens, and even more so as the umbral shadow arrives. Beginning with the second picture in the second row, the exposure was greatly increased to make the dim reddish glow of the umbral shadow visible. At mid-eclipse (first picture of the bottom row), the moon is very dark and difficult to spot in the sky. I wish I could be on the moon at a time like this, to see the darkness of Earth's night side with a fiery red sunset-like glow all around it.

The Sun

Image: Sunspots

This photo of the Sun was taken at the prime focus of an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (focal length 2000 mm). The telescope was covered by an aluminized mylar solar screen, which reduces the light intensity to a tiny fraction of what it would otherwise be. You can clearly see some sunspots, which are magnetic storms erupting on the Sun's surface, and you can see the "orange peel" texture caused by powerful convective forces. That bite missing from the bottom of the Sun is the edge of the Moon; this was taken during a partial solar eclipse.

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