Amateur Astronomer Uses Old Tea Box to Record 6 Months of the Sun's Path

new forest observatory/Public Domain

We love winter solstice: it means the days get longer now, and the gloom recedes. People celebrate it in different ways. There are the druids at Stonehenge in England (more on that in a minute) and there are amateur astronomers who capture it with an old tea caddy.

Which one are you? Dr. Greg Parker, an amateur astronomer in the New Forest, in the English countryside, set up his pin-hole camera, made of an old tea box, in his garden last June. He exposed the film from the longest day June 21, to the shortest day to get the whole spread of the sun's path.

The spectacular picture (above) is a six-month image showing the summer solstice on the top and the winter on the bottom. Apparently, "the pinhole image 'burns' itself into the paper over the six months of exposure time meaning you don't need to develop the photographic paper."

Parker, a retired professor from University of Southampton, said: "In this image the straight line to the left is the edge of the house roof across the road. You can see plenty of trees towards the south, and the two light dome-shaped objects are the New Forest observatories in my garden."

itunes preview/Promo image

The really hard-core solstice celebrators gather at Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain where the stones align perfectly with the sun. For those who can't make the trip to the UK, you can explore Stonehenge from your seat on the bus with a new app: the Stonehenge Experience.

The app lets you "stand" amongst the stones and move around, as well as hear the sound of the stones. That could be interesting since the historic spot is surrounded by a highway and the only sound usually to be heard is that of cars and horns. Different aspects of the app reveal different artifacts found there as well as the sound of it being constructed five thousand years ago (!)

Tags: A Picture Is Worth | Photography | Winter