My Photo Web Site

FilmAdvance title

I invite everyone to check out my web site, FilmAdvance.com.
In addition to astronomy, photography is a big passion of mine. So, I started FilmAdvance.com as an outlet for my photographic explorations. There will inevitably by some astronomy related content posted there, but mostly it’s about seeing the universe through the lens of a camera, instead of the eyepiece of a telescope. Look in on it from time to time to see what I’ve been up to with my cameras and darkroom. Enjoy!

The Top 5 Comets of the Past 20 Years

Comet Hale-Bopp

Magnificent Comet Hale-Bopp on April 3, 1997. It is unquestionably one of the finest comets of the past two decades, but is it the best one of all?

Few celestial objects excite the imaginations of stargazers and the general public like a good comet. The recent apparition of Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) prompted me to reflect on the all the comets I’ve been fortunate enough to see in the past 20 years. There have been some stunners, some surprises, and a few that could have been great, but fell short. Here’s my (highly subjective) pick of the five most interesting and spectacular comets from the past two decades.
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Great “New and Improved” Astro Web Site

SkyNews.ca

Just a quick note to all my readers to check out the new and improved SkyNews.caweb site. I’m happy to say that I get to be the site’s editor and work with some of the best astronomy writers in the business, including Terence Dickinson, Alan Dyer, and Ken Hewitt-White, to name but three. One item I hope you’ll find of particular interest is my regular “This Week’s Sky” column, which will highlight the most interesting observing events over the coming seven days. Check in regularly and enjoy everything we have on offer!

Gary

A Farewell to Summer

Cygnus

The Cygnus Milky Way photographed from Mt. Kobau.

This past summer I tried my hand at medium-format astrophotography for the first time. While digital imaging has largely eclipsed emulsion-based photography, old-school techniques and materials can still yield pleasing results. There’s just something about a black-and-white Milky Way photo that evokes the work of E. E. Barnard, much the same way that high-contrast landscape photography inevitably draws comparisons with Ansel Adams.
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Great Sunspots!

Sunspots

Sunspots, July 11, 2012, 1 p.m. PDT.

The most impressive bunch of sunspots in a long while recently slipped off the face of the Sun, but not before unleashing an X-class flare and triggering an auroral show visible even from southern Canada. Here’s hoping there’s more to come soon.

Transit!

Venus transit

The transit begins and the weather is clear!

After a gloomy start to the day and an equally gloomy weather forecast, I had all but given up hope of seeing the transit of Venus. Oh well, I told myself, at least I got to see a bit of the 2004 event. And then, miracle of miracles, at midday the Sun broke through the clouds and by first contact, the sky was clear. Venus bit into the solar limb exactly on time, and all was right with the universe.
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S&T’s New Moon Globe

Moon globe

My copy of Sky&Telescope’s new Moon globe arrived recently and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. I have a special fondness for lunar cartography. I’m proud to say that I helped create both the Sky&Telescope Moon Map and Field Map of the Moon and I also got to serve as editor for Antonín Rükl’s classic Atlas of the Moon. But there’s one thing that these flat maps and even computer software can’t do very well — show you the entire Moon from any perspective quckly and easily.
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Gary’s Top 10 Star Party Perks

Twilight

Waiting for twilight’s end at the Table Mountain Star Party.

The summer star-party season is in full swing once again and it’s time to hit the road! As an editor for Sky & Telescope magazine, I’ve traveled to most major (and quite a few minor) star parties in North America. They’re fun events and tend to have a number of things in common. Here’s a rundown of my top ten star party perks.
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Houston Astronomical Society Interview

GuideStar header

I was recently interviewed for the Houston Astronomical Society’s newsletter GuideStar. I’ve been interviewed a few times before and have found that the quality of the resulting article depends hugely on the interviewer. Prep is everything. And in this case, Clayton Jeter was a real pro. His questions were thoughtful and interesting, and clearly the result of having done his homework.

The complete interview appears after the jump.
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