Catching Sunlight: A TEDx Talk by DIY Solar Photographer Alan Friedman

Video poster frame shows Alan Friedman’s 90mm hydrogen alpha telescope setup — nicknamed “Little Big Man” — on an Astro-Physics 900 equatorial mount.

We’ve featured several beautiful images of the Sun here on Universe Today, captured by the talented Alan Friedman from his backyard telescope in Buffalo, NY. While photos of the Sun in and of themselves are nothing new in astronomy, Alan’s images always seem to bring out the best in our home star. Maybe it’s the magical nature of hydrogen alpha photography, maybe it’s Alan’s fancy new Grasshopper CCD camera, maybe the Sun’s photosphere was looking particularly nice on those days… but most likely Alan just has an innate skill for solar photography (as well as one for picking out great hats!)

In the video above, Alan talks to an audience at a TEDx event in Buffalo on October 9, sharing some of his photos and explaining why he does what he does, and why he feels do-it-yourself astrophotography is such a valuable thing to share with others. It’s a great bit of insight from a talented artist (and you just might recognize the names he drops at 13:55!)

I was happy to share one of Alan’s images on my own website back in 2010, which Phil Plait (the “Bad Astronomer,” who was then with Discover Magazine) picked up on and soon enough the whole thing got Alan quite a bit of attention. Which, when you’re an astrophotographer and graphic artist (he also sells art prints of his work as well as runs a greeting card studio) is never a bad thing.

Image of the Sun in hydrogen alpha. ©2010 Alan Friedman. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

You can see more of Alan’s work on his Averted Imagination blog and website and, on occasion, here on Universe Today!

ISS Caught Between the Moon and New York City

The ISS passes across the face of a daytime Moon. © Alan Friedman.


Now as the theme from Arthur plays in your head you can enjoy this GIF animation of the ISS passing across the face of a daytime Moon, photographed by Alan Friedman from his location in upstate New York.

I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.

Alan captured these images at 10:30 a.m. EST back on September 2, 2007, and slowed down the animation a bit; in real-time the event lasted less than half a second. (Click the image for an even larger version.)

Atmospheric distortion creates the “wobbly” appearance of the Moon.

Alan Friedman is a talented photographer, printer (and avid vintage hat collector) living in Buffalo, NY. His images of the Sun in hydrogen alpha light are second-to-none and have been featured on many astronomy websites. When he’s not taking amazing photos of objects in the sky he creates beautiful hand-silkscreened greeting cards at his company Great Arrow Graphics.

See more of Alan’s astrophotography on his website, Averted Imagination.

Image © Alan Friedman. All rights reserved.


NOTE: Although this article previously stated that the images were taken Jan. 12, 2012, they were actually captured in September 2007 and re-posted on Jan. 13 of this year. Alan states that he’s since learned how to judge exposure so the ISS doesn’t appear as a streak, but personally he likes (as do I) how this one came out.

Let’s see… September 2007… that would have been Expedition 15!