Note -- you have reached the original astrophotographs.com website. Thanks very much for visiting. Logo contact information has been updated (i.e. we moved to Taos, NM) as below:
12 Rabbit Valley Road / P.O. Box 1515
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303-903-8996 or 575-758-3670
You may also want to visit Willis' new astronomy site at: taosastronomer.com/
"Under the Night Sky",
the astrophotographs.com newsletter!
Willis Greiner's astrophotographs.com
"Under the Night Sky"
Welcome to the 5th edition/Supplement
of astrophotographs.com newsletter! The purpose of this missive
is threefold -- first of all, thanks to all of you that responded
to my last newsletter; really, I very much enjoy your comments and
input. Your astrophotograph will be forthcoming, sometime after
Secondly, this will be
the last newsletter before Cheryl and I travel to Zimbabwe to observe
the Total Solar Eclipse on June 21. The track of totality makes
landfall on the West coast of Angola (a country sadly rife with
revolution and despair) and moves inland through Zambia (where the
Sky and Telescope Magazine tour will be viewing), through
Northern Zimbabwe (where we'll be -- with Astronomy Magazine
-- near the village of Rushinga, in the Northeast corner of the
country) and finally through recent-revolution-impaired Mozambique
and out into the Indian Ocean.
Zimbabwe was once the
example of African "democracy," (although President Robert
Mugabe is an avowed Marxist!) but unfortunately lately had land-use
and rights issues which threaten to change the once net-food-export
country into a much poorer and less free nation. No matter; we're
going and plan to have a great time! (I'm sure there may be some
would wholeheartedly recommend Peter
Beard's ground breaking work entitled The End of the Game.
. . . His photos of
elephants with their faces (not heads, just faces -- just horrendous!)
literally cut off (for the ivory) has had a profound effect
photograph the many fabulous
wild game species; for additional commentary on this I would wholeheartedly
recommend Peter Beard's ground breaking work entitled The End
of the Game. I'm sure it is available at a larger bookstore.
His photos of elephants with their faces (not heads, just faces
-- just horrendous!) literally cut off (for the ivory) has had a
profound effect on me. I'm sure I'll pontificate here (in the newsletter)
on our "expedition" after we return early in July.
The third reason for
the newsletter update is to announce that the black and white hand-painted
photography that Cheryl and I create (Photofantasia) has been chosen
to be exhibited in
Tampieri's wonderful international online gallery, BTDesign Art
Gallery. I'll link to it below, and have included a type of greeting
card for your perusal.
[By the way, note that
a typical AC-powered clock drive on an old telescope like mine will
not work in the Southern Hemisphere. It will turn the wrong way!
The newer telescopes with DC motors will work because you can change
the leads on these motors, thereby creating reverse spin. I guess
I don't need the clock drive anyway!]
Here are some
links associated with the above rave:
is the web site of the Starry Night series of planetarium software.
These programs mimic the sky and Earth and can be set for anywhere
on the Earth (and other planets!) at any time in history. This is
how I have been able to note the exact time, location of the Sun
and Moon and positions of the planets during the upcoming African
eclipse. I remember as a child how amazed I was while visiting the
Fels Planetarium in Philadelphia when the operator could bring the
visitors back or ahead in time and location and view the skies from
then and there. Now, of course, this can be done from the comfort
is a web site featuring some of the work of photographer Peter Beard.
He's the man who captured the evocative images of faceless elephants
in Kenya and present-day Tanzania. His life history is fascinating
as well. These photographs are certainly worth the visit.
is Barbara Tampieri's web site featuring fine art galleries, outstanding
movie and music web site links, Barbara's excellent graphic and
fine art and the widely-acclaimed fine art of Giuseppe Tampieri.
is the BTDesign Art Gallery internet location of our Photofantasia
exhibit, now showing through the month of June. Give it a look and
perhaps link to the main site below.
is the web address of the black and white hand-painted fine art
photography of Willis Greiner and Cheryl Price.
astrophotographs.com "Under the Night Sky"
Welcome to the
5th edition of astrophotographs.com newsletter! Forgive me for such
a long absence. Hopefully all of you receiving this newsletter still
wish to; if not let me know per the comments and instructions on
the bottom of this missive. Also, again because of a lack of diligence
and detail, it is likely that some of you that wish a free (yet
modest) example of my astrophotography have not received same; if
so let this wish be known per the below noted instructions.
surfing through the television offerings I had the opportunity to
stop on the (now much more often than) yearly beg-a-thon on public
television, this time the national feed. A familiar face was the
"guest;" that of the widow of planetary astronomer, author
and educator Dr. Carl Sagan -- Ann Druyan -- a talent in her own
right. Ms. Druyan has remastered the seminal "Cosmos"
television series, and has added a brief personal comment and Dr.
Sagan's "Cosmos Updates" (often underlining new discoveries
that Sagan actually contemplated) recorded a full 10 years after
the initial production in the early 1980's.
Dr. Carl Sagan
is one of my heroes; the other main individual that comes to mind
is Jacques Cousteau. Because of this and the impact that Sagan's
expansive and open mind has had on me
(and certainly others!) my wife and I sat down and again watched
in succession every episode. What a wonderful, and in my opinion
uplifting, experience. I'll link to the Carl Sagan - "Cosmos"
page and a few other significant sites at the end of this diatribe.
Dr. Sagan starts
with the episode "The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean" in which
he essentially reviews that humankind at this moment of time is
at the edge of a great experience, one that will certainly lead
us closer to the greatest question of all -- who are we and from
whence did we come?
. . humankind at this moment of time is at the edge of a great
experience, one that will certainly lead us closer to the greatest
question of all -- who are we and from whence did we come?
This theme --
along with the ever-sobering reminder of our recent ability to alter
and even destroy ourselves and our living planet -- is consistent
throughout the 13-part journey. (Which, by the way, Dr. Sagan labels
as the subtitle of the series, "A Personal Journey.")
Dr. Sagan moves
through the gathering of ancient knowledge in the Great Library
at Alexandria, the destruction of same, the Dark Ages, the rebirth
of creativity and quest for knowledge, the beginnings of technology,
the influence of religion and mysticism, the impact of visual observation
and thought, the importance of the scientific method and inherent
skepticism, the innate human trait for exploration, the search for
extraterrestrial intelligence (see link below) and finally to the
great discoveries and especially the important responsibilities
Dr. Sagan was
so much more than a scientist; he was the quintessential Renaissance
man. He points out with absolute clarity that it is not enough to
just learn and think, but also to share, communicate and be a citizen
of Earth. After all, the Library at Alexandria, where essentially
all of the knowledge of the ancient world was stored and studied,
where many of the great truths were originally contemplated -- this
place was burned to the ground, all knowledge lost for more than
14 centuries -- not by mistake, but because of intellectual elitism.
The "regular folk" were slaves, and were obviously rather
uninspired by all this great knowledge unshared.
Sagan makes a powerful argument for the fact that we are all
one, citizens not of countries but of the pale blue dot named
Dr. Sagan makes
a powerful argument for the fact that we are all one, citizens not
of countries but of the pale blue dot named Earth. As such, shall
we be beholden to the uninspired leaders of made-up countries, or
are we all now one, with the same passions and responsibilities?
we allow these petty, irresponsible leaders deride us on our
quest for the stars and other worlds, for the greater truths,
or shall WE be "Who Speaks for Earth?," the title
of this last episode? Dr. Sagan argues that although there certainly
may be others, the fact remains that as far as we know WE are
the legacy of 15 billion years of evolution (treated as FACT
by Dr. Sagan, also argued absolutely convincingly) -- as such
then, we certainly are the responsible parties. (Who else were
Shall we allow
these petty, irresponsible leaders deride us on our quest for the
stars and other worlds, for the greater truths, or shall WE be "Who
Speaks for Earth?," the title of this last episode? Dr. Sagan
argues that although there certainly may be others, the fact remains
that as far as we know WE are the legacy of 15 billion years of
evolution (treated as FACT by Dr. Sagan, also argued absolutely
convincingly) -- as such then, we certainly are the responsible
parties. (Who else were you expecting?) Let's check our corrupt,
egomaniacal leaders at the door and enter the "sea" from
the "Shores of the Cosmic Ocean." We are all (as the "Outer
Limits" control voice once said) fortunate to be participating
in a great adventure. This is powerful stuff!
I implore you
to obtain this series (many libraries rent it in video or DVD) and
watch. It was uplifting to me to view it again, with the passionate
and powerful Dr. Sagan leading us from the "Shores of the Cosmic
Ocean" and beyond to the "Edge of Forever."
[If you wish
to continue receiving this newsletter and if you (especially) want
to receive an example of my astrophotography, please let me know
by simply replying to this e-mail and articulating your wish. It
will probably be early July before the receipt of the astrophoto,
as my wife and I will be traveling to Zimbabwe to observe the Total
Solar Eclipse on June 21 (not visible in America) with Astronomy
Magazine. I'm hoping also that one of our local newspapers here
in Denver might be interested in a sort of "missives from the
edge" set of articles perhaps with photos sent electronically!]
Here are some
links associated with the above rave:
is the web address of Dr. Sagan, Ms. Druyan and the "Cosmos"
series. I would again recommend either purchasing or renting this
is the link to SETI@home, where you can download a small program
which serves as a screen saver while actually analyzing sound data
(for potential artificially produced signals, like we might send
out!) from the great radio observatories of the world, as Arecibo
in Puerto Rico or the Very Large Array in New Mexico. This program
will not interfere with any of you running programs; it runs totally
in the background when you're not computing. (Also, it looks great!)
is a link to a short story I once wrote involving space travelers
encountering our once-alive planet. Although crude by comparison,
it has a chilling resemblance to Dr. Sagan's childhood recurring
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