Saturday, 31 March 2012

AstroFest 2012 - Great fun!

If you came along and are visiting my website for the first time, Welcome!

You can keep in touch by liking us at the Astro Photography Australia facebook page, or signing up to our occasional email newsletter.

Thank You

Well, thank you to everyone who came along to AstroFest 2012 yesterday at Curtain Stadium. It was a very successful event, with estimated 2500-3000 attendee's!

The clouds were a little problematic for viewing outside, but that didn't affect all the great activities inside - talks and interactive shows from Scitech and others, adult lego display, lots of individual stalls/stands, Scitech's two portable planetariums, etc.

Roger Groom talking to visitors at the Astro Photography Australia stand at Astrofest 2012

Astro Photography Australia lost in the crowds!

The Astro Photography Australia stand at Astrofest 2012 at Curtin Stadium, Perth.

I had a great evening talking to lots of people about my astrophotography and how they can get started with astrophotography. Lots of interesting questions and discussions.

Specials $$$

If you are looking for one of the specials, I am happy to still honor the great prices I had at the show, particularly the $99 framed prints (usually $149, and even that is a good price!). These are prints from an exhibition I held at the Gravity Discovery Centre, and I am keen to move the stock. They are worth a lot more than $99 but I just need to sell them. Each print is high quality archival, individually signed.

Colours shown above do not match actual prints - see web site gallery pages for better illustration of wonderful colour and detail in these photographs. L to R, Top to Bottom: Smiley Face Conjunction over Lake, Milky Way in Twilight, Southern Celestial Pole Star Trails, Eta Carina Nebula, Pleaides (Seven Sisters) star cluster, Constellation of Orion, Comet McNaught in Twilight over Perth, Moon and Venus with Wheatbelt Silhouettes.
The above prints were on special for $99. I am happy to deliver them personally within Perth Metro for $10. Email me.

I also had a great range of the new mugs for $20. I'm happy to post them to you for $30 to anywhere in Australia. See the full range of Astro Mugs

Thanks again for everyone who came, and I hope you all had a great time!

Astro Photography Australia almost lost in the crowds, again!

Roger Groom of Astro Photography Australia

Friday, 30 March 2012

Let's Travel! Jupiter, Venus and Pleiades...

Here's a new photograph I really like. It shows the planets Jupiter and Venus together with the star cluster Pleiades and all nicely framed by silhouetted trees and very subtle colours of twilight.

Jupiter, Venus and Pleiades - prints available for purchase

The photograph was taken at Dryandra Lions Village in the wheatbelt of Western Australia, which is where the twice-a-year ASWA Astro Camp is held. It's a nice place to stay if you don't mind slightly rustic accommodation (clean, neat and tidy, but old logging cabins - basic). Very peaceful. I have several more photo's from the trip to process and post yet.

Back to the photograph...

Let's look at this astronomy photograph from a distance point of view.

  • In the foreground we have the trees and bushes, 5-50m from the camera. 
  • After that, we have the nice twilight colours caused by the low sunlight filtering through our atmosphere (let's say 100 km - the edge of "space" as it is defined). 
  • Then we move on to Venus, the brightest point in the photograph. It was about 102,300,000 km from Earth at the time.
  • Moving out to Jupiter, the next closest object in the photograph, it is approximately 867,700,000 km from the Earth.
  • Lastly, let's travel to the star cluster of Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters, and Messier 45, among other names), which is at a significantly more distant 3,784,000,000,000,000 km.
That's quite a trip!

This is a very nice photograph, the trees are sharp, as are the planets. The stars are naturally trailed due to the movement of the sky without distraciton. It is a scene we can all relate to - the colours of twilight and the bright stars and planets we see near sunset and sunrise. The photograph would do well on a 80cm print or 1m canvas. I hope to have the opportunity to print it for someone, please contact me if interested in purchasing a product featuring this astrophotography. Prices start from just $18.95.

Monday, 26 March 2012

What a spectacular evening of photography!

Well, that was a fantastic evening. Jupiter, The Moon and Venus put on a great show in the north-western sky. Not only that, but Pleiades (Seven Sisters) and Orion!

I spent the evening in the peaceful surrounds of a nearby lake where I was joined by some friendly coots, ducks and frogs. The air was still, slightly cool, the water flat and calm almost like glass. A very pleasant way to photograph the celestial objects setting as they slowly moved across the sky.

First, one of my friends for the evening, a coot looking for dinner just one metre from tripod...

Then the sun started to go down and twilight colours take over, with such a wonderful bronze colour coming over the lake and as the twilight took over, such subtle tones...

By this stage Jupiter, the crescent Moon and Venus were clearly visible in the north-western sky putting on a great show over the lake to the north, again with such nice colours (and don't forget the coot!):

I haven't had enough time yet to process the more "astronomy" themed photographs from the evening, but this is the first of two quick shots to give a feel, this is the Pleiades (right) joining Jupiter, Moon and Venus (left to right) with silhouettes and wonderful reflections in the still lake...

And lastly, one from near the end of the evening, just as Jupiter started to touch the distant shoreline and western horizon. Now not only were Jupiter, Moon and Venus reflecting in the lake and joined by Pleiades but also the constellation of Orion...

Such a relaxing way to spend an evening. I'm looking forward to working on these photographs some more to bring out the atmosphere of the night best I can.

All pictures are available for purchase as prints (photographic print or canvas). Contact me with what photograph and size you are after and I'll get you a quote (no obligation).

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Perth AstroFest 2012 - not long to go now!

With only two weeks until AstroFest 2012 at Curtin University in Perth Western Australia it's time to make sure it's booked in your calendar.

AstroFest is very popular, usually attracting significant crowds of about 4000 young and old, astronomy and science interested people.

Personally after having been at the two previous AstroFest events I think there are four outstanding aspects to the day which make it a great opportunity not to be missed by families and those interested in astronomy and science:

  1. Scitech does a fantastic job of entertaining everyone. They run top notch professional interactive activities with kids and families which pull big crowds and justifiably so. What they do to get kids engaged is excellent.
  2. Telescope viewing. It is the middle of suburbia so the night sky might not be at its best, but for kids to have the opportunity to get excited about looking through a telescope, and the rest of us enjoy checking out the array of various astronomical equipment, it's great.
  3. Astro Photography Exhibition. John Goldsmith (supported by ICRAR, Lotteries West and other participating parties of AstroFest) organises the annual exhibition of astro photography. It's a great exhibition of astro photography from lots of like-minded amateur and professional photographers from Western Australia.
  4. Astro Photography Australia! Of course! I have a great time talking to people about my various astronomy products and prints, the photographs, the stories, the equipment, etc etc. It's great fun.

Come along to AstroFest 2012 ! - check out the how / why / what / when / where of AstroFest 2012 at the official page.

I hate photo's of me, but here's me at last year's AstroFest 2011:
Roger Groom of Astro Photography Australia chatting to people at AstroFest 2011

The Astro Photography Australia astronomy products

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Pink Aurora Australis from 9th March 2012!

Had a fantastic time at a local reserve in the hills of Perth last night taking photo's of the Aurora Australis. This is the resulting photograph of the aurora:

Aurora Australis from Perth Hills

I'm really happy with this shot - while the Aurora Australis its self is not enormous due to the full moon, it is a nice subtle pink on the southern horizon and has a nice framing of trees around the borders to finish it off. I also like the subtle blue tones to the sky, caused by the full moon.

The full moon washed out much of the aurora. You can see the horizon and sky gets brighter to the left (east), because the moon was in the eastern sky. Hopefully next time we have a chance for aurora there will be no full moon.

It was a very nice evening - typical summer for Perth. 38 degrees C during the day, cooled down to about 22 degrees when this photograph was taken. There was a slight breeze, and you can see the movement in the tree branches. Sitting on the edge of the lake photographing and waiting for the aurora was a very relaxing way to end the week.

While the above photograph is of production quality showing nice sharp star trails together with the Aurora Australis and foreground trees, I don't have plans at this stage to keep prints of it in stock. I am happy to have once-off prints made up upon request, upto 80cm size. Contact me if interested.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Possible Aurora Australis 8th-9th March 2012

Aurora Australis from the Wheatbelt, Photography by Roger Groom

Back in 2003 I was lucky enough to see and photograph bright pink and green Aurora Australis (see more aurora australis photo's here at my personal website) from suburbs of Perth and from the Wheatbelt of Western Australia. Ever since I've been hoping for another chance ... it looks like we are finally getting that chance as the Sun increases its solar activity.

There is a lot of talk today about the possibility of Aurora's due to the recent large X5 solar flare released by the Sun, and tonight there's a real chance of seeing aurora.

Aurora's are caused by the interactions between particles from the Sun and our atmosphere. When there's more particles coming from the Sun such as from a X5 flare, there is more chance of an Aurora.

The best chance you have to see an Aurora is being in dark skies at "high" latitudes in the next 24 hours. High latitudes are those closer to the poles (north or south). Unfortunately we are near full moon now, meaning that the bright sunlight reflected by the Moon will wash out fainter aurora. At the moment it looks possible southern states (southern latitudes) of Australia might get a hint of aurora activity in the next 24 hours, so keep an eye out tonight!

Thanks to Ian Musgrave via the Southern-Aurora network for the information.

Aurora Australis from the Perth Hills, Photography by Roger Groom

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Planets at Sunset in March, keep your eyes peeled!

There's a lot to see at sunset during March and April, and also some photographic opportunities.

You might have been noticing some bright "stars" after sunset lately? Jupiter is low in the west at sunset now which makes for some good placements together with Venus. Every evening you can see these two shining very bright in the west at the moment.

As March continues The Pleiades is going to move closer and closer to Venus (as Venus its self moves north a little) and Jupiter will still be in the area. This will make for quite a nice grouping of objects shortly after sunset for about an hour each night.

On the 25th March the very new moon (will only be a slither of a crescent) will add to the combination, providing a great opportunity to photograph The Crescent Moon with Venus, Jupiter and The Pleiades! Should be quite a nice sight, although you will need a wide angle to photograph them all together.

If you like your star signs, it might also be worth noting that Taurus will be the constellation in this area at the time, and it's bright star Aldebaran will be clearly visible as well, higher up from the horizon.

The combination of The Moon, Venus and Jupiter will be very similar to the "Smiley Face Conjunction" in 2008, but forming a different shaped triangle.

See prediction image below.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Comet Lovejoy Prints

On Friday I brought home from the pro lab the first ever print of this Comet Lovejoy photo and I think it looks absolutely great! I had no idea it would come up so well on paper, it really looks great in person. I can't wait to try a 80cm print of it. Below is a quick snap of first print I have prepared.. it's a 12" x 8" print:

Comet Lovejoy fine art photographic signed print

I am matting the prints now in readiness for AstroFest 2012 on 31st March... More blogs to come as I continue preparations. I will have a small number of 12" x 8" and 5" x 7" prints of this Comet Lovejoy photo at AstroFest.

I really enjoyed taking this photo. My wife and I woke up at 2:30am to arrivate at the lake at 3am, took photo's until 5am and then headed back home to get some more sleep, a very early morning! It's wonderful being out at that time - so quiet with so few other people about. I wish I could get up early like this more often to achieve some great shots I have ideas for, but it is hard with work (my "real job") and other commitments in life which tend to get in the way more often than not.

Did you get to see Comet Lovejoy for yourself? Post a comment or come say hi at AstroFest and tell me about it if you did, I'd love to hear your stories.