Monday, 24 June 2013

My Blog has Moved!

Hi everyone,

With the recent re-design of my website I have consolidated my blog in to the main page of my new site.

For future blog posts, please visit: (a wordpress blog rather than blogger).

You can also follow me at facebook:

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Valley of Stars

Taken yesterday evening in the hills to the east of Perth, the Milky Way rises over a valley visible in the distance and steep hillside with silhouettes in the foreground.

The location was a little walk from my car and unfortunately in the process I tripped, rolling my ankle while having all my astrophotography gear on my back and in my hands! I still got the shot after that, but am currently nursing a swollen ankle - an occupational hazard of working in the dark! Back to the office job tomorrow to spend the week recovering! [Edit 21/5/2013: Now confirmed I have a torn ligament which has snapped some bone off with it. Many weeks of recovery and possible surgery ahead! Not sure the shot was worth it?]

It has been a little while since I posted a wide-field shot like this, so it's great to get another one off the list. Hopefully I'll have a chance to re-visit this and other locations soon for some more attempts - once my ankle has healed.

Prints are available for purchase upon request. Enquire at Astro Photography Australia

Friday, 10 May 2013

Partial Solar Eclipse of 10th May 2013

On the 10th May 2013 an Annular Solar Eclipse occurred over northern Australia and the pacific. I was unable to travel to the north to experience the full annular solar eclipse so made do with what I had in Perth Western Australia.

From my location in Perth Western Australia this appeared as a Partial Solar Eclipse. My idea was to get some nice silhouettes and photographs of the eclipse. While nothing really turned out as planned or as I wanted it to, I have ended up with a collection of photo's now available here.

With limited photographs from the event and them not being my intended angle I have chosen to put the videos in to a movie, providing a better overall experience. The Vimeo video is HD with audio so sit back, relax and enjoy a short 1:48 minute eclipse experience.

10th May Partial Solar Eclipse from Roger Groom on Vimeo.

Prints of solar eclipse photographs can be purchased on demand (I will not be printing any to have in stock, but they can easily be organised when requested with a 1-2 week lead time).

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Staircase To The Moon at Broome, Western Australia

My weekend holiday at Broome just a few days ago happened to nicely coincide with the Staircase To The Moon phenomenon. Great co-incidence!

This event is as much amazing for how half the town seems to go in to a frenzy of activity with tourists flocking to see the Moon rising, as it is amazing to actually see the moon rise, its reflection glistening in the draining mudflats below. Never have I seen a town use to such effective ends a recurring astronomical event!

This is not just about the moon rising.

It is the chattering on the streets the day before "are you going to see the stairway to the moon?" or "are you taking your market stall to the moon markets?". It's about families and kids having fun on a balmy summer's evening playing with glow-sticks, listening to live music, eating market food of all varieties. Its about the cheers as the first glimpse of the moon appears over the distant horizon of Roebuck Bay. It's amazing!

The evening starts with the markets and food in full swing ...

People at the Broome Staircase to the Moon markets.

People at the Broome Staircase to the Moon markets.

People begin to gather on the foreshore of Town Beach overlooking the mudflats at low tide ...
Town Beach (lit by market lights to the left), mudflats (centre) with a car and people looking for mud crabs (we think), and the Southern Cross and Pointers overhead.

Then the moon just barely starts to appear above the horizon, barely a thin slither but the first round of cheers can be heard from the crowd on the shores of the beach...

And finally, the grand event, the Staircase To The Moon  ...

The above photograph of the Staircase to the Moon includes silhouettes of people. I have to admit I was at first wishing them out the way. These are people who have walked out on to the mudflat to photograph the event. But in the end I think they are what make it for my photographs. The whole event is not just about the Moon, it's about the people interacting with the moonrise and the event. Having the silhouettes of people makes this a great photo I think. At full resolution you can clearly see they are enjoying the event, photographing it with their tripods and cameras.

I was surprised and taken by the interest in the event. Perhaps it's the build up of events leading to the finale, but in the end it was definitely a "wow" moment to experience, and now I think it is a must see if you are ever in Broome at the right time.

The Staircase to the Moon event is technically speaking the Moon rising behind a far eastern shore of Roebuck Bay in Broome. The combination of low tide, far reaching mudflats, and the eastern outlook of Town Beach provide the right combination of elements such that the rising moon is reflected in the potholes of water left in the mudflats.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Comet Panstarrs over Perth City Lights

Tonight's location for photographing comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS was a lookout overlooking the city of Perth in Western Australia.

This photograph has turned out to have quite a smoggy industrial feel about it. The yellow colour on the cloud is light pollution from the city. During the length of the exposure cloud drifted through the image, leaving most of the photograph looking cloudy yet the comet showing through the gaps. The cloud was moving quite quickly from left (south) to right (north).

The comet was harder to see tonight, partly due to the cloud and partly due to the fact it is getting closer to the sun and so not up as high in the sky after sunset.

Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS over Perth, Western Australia. 100mm focal length.
And here is a second one from earlier in the evening with more twilight colour remaining:
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS over Perth, Western Australia, in some twilight colour. 100mm focal length.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS in an ocean sunset

Last night I enjoyed a trip to a local beach here in Perth (Shoalwater, near Rockingham) to photograph C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS.

The evening was almost idealic. Clear skies and comfortable termperatures. The breeze was a little stiff where we set up which constrained what photographs I could capture.

For me taking astrophotographs is about more than just the object of interest, it's about the experience of getting out and about to scenic locations and trying to incorporate the location and the feel of being at the location in the photographs I produce. So in my usual style, here is a wider field photograph to set the scene:
Small waves gently lap at the shore line as a breeze blows in off the ocean on a comfortable 20 degrees C evening. Setting the Scene - Sunset at Shoalwater, Western Australia

Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS became visible to the naked eye at approximately 7:40pm local time. The sun set at 6:54pm. To the unaided eye the comet appeared like a medium brightness star about 10 degrees above the horizon. Through binoculars the short tail was plainly visible. Through a 80mm refractor telescope the comet was very clear with it's tail.
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS above islands off Shoalwater, Western Australia. Taken at 100mm focal length the comet is approximately 10 degrees off the horizon.
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS setting low over the ocean. Taken at 130mm focal length. Taken between 8:02pm and 8:05pm local time. 
If you are wanting to view the comet yourself and you are in the southern hemisphere there is only a very narrow window of opportunity which for my location at Perth seems to be bewteen 7:40pm and 8:05pm local time. You will need binoculars or a small telescope to see the tail. Binoculars also help you initially locate the comet.

See new pictures of Panstarrs from the 5th March at my next blog entry ...

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Comets L4 PANSTARRS and F6 LEMMON in the twilight sky

Tonight I took a trip to my local park with a good west horizon and shot some photo's of both Comet C/2012 F6 LEMMON and C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS.

It was a beautiful 25 degree C evening with gentle breeze and blue skies. The twilight colours were very nice.

You can see below a photograph showing the position of both the comets LEMMON and PANSTARRS in the evening sky on this 28th February 2013. While both comets are captured in the photograph it's impossible to visually see them in this small 1200px wide copy because they are quite small, but the crosses show the locations of the comets and sets the scene:

Wide field photograph showing the positions of Comet C/2012 F6 LEMMON and C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS as viewed from Perth, Western Australia.
To be honest the comets are not particularly large or bright for the causal novice observer to currently find. You need a pair of binoculars and a program or star chart to give you a good idea of where to look. Once you scan over the comets with your binoculars they are reasonably obvious, but don't expect to find them naked eye or easily with no binocular experience.

This is comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS:
Comet C/2011 L4 PANSTARRS in evening twilight by Roger Groom. Taken with a 400mm lens.

To be honest the much prettier of the two comets is C/2012 F6 LEMMON:
Comet C/2012 F6 LEMMON in moonlight by Roger Groom. Taken with a 400mm lens.
I hope you enjoyed these pictures.

Edit: Check out the photo's from the next night, 2nd March in my new blog post