Transit of Mercury

 

On November 8, 2006, the innermost planet in our solar system, Mercury, transited the face of the Sun. This is a rare occurrence and will not happen again for a decade. This photo of the transit was taken at 14:02:13 from my home. It is not a great photo but I was surprised to get anything with a simple hand-held 500mm shot. A giant sunspot is at center left and Mercury is a small dot below and to the right of the center of the disk.

The Moon is always a favorite of astronomical photographers. This photo of a waxing crescent Moon was taken at 00:05 PST April 14, 2005, about a half an hour before moonset.

Venus, Jupiter, and a new crescent Moon were captured at 19:53 PDT on Tuesday, September 5, 2005.

Auroras are second only to a total solar eclipse as being the most beautiful astronomical event to witness. Usually reserved for the far north, I was able to see my first aurora on August 27, 1978 just outside Spokane, Washington. My friend and fellow amateur astronomer, John McVey stayed up all night with me as we witnessed this incredible display. The aurora was so active that night that it was witnessed as far south as Mexico. The event ended only when the Sun came up to wash out the display, a sleepless night that will never be forgotten.

 

This aurora also gave me my first professional sale as a photographer. The February 1979 issue of Astronomy magazine carried one of my photos. Click the link above to see the full page.

Contact sheet of aurora photographs from the night of August 27-28, 1978