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British amateur astronomer records sun for 6 months

By Elizabeth Cunningham Perkins     Dec 30, 2011 in Science
Dr. Greg Parker, an amateur astronomer in New Forest in southern England, tracked the sun's trails over his garden from the summer to winter solstices with a pin-hole camera he constructed from an empty tea box.
Parker, a retired University of Southampton School of Electronics professor of photonics and the creator of New Forest Observatory, exposed the film, which stretched out flat in the tea box pinhole camera (an improvement over his earlier beer can model that curled the film and distorted the images), for six months, from the year 2011's longest day (as viewed in the northern hemisphere), the June solstice, to the year's shortest day, the December solstice, to reveal the shape of the sun's day-by-day blazing path.
Parker explained his project on the New Forest Observatory's blog and told The Telegraph that the film did not need developing because the pinhole exposure "burns" the scene directly onto the photographic paper, capturing the sun's winter trails at the bottom of the light curve and the sun's summer trails near the top:
"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."
Parker has long aimed to develop the New Forest Observatory into the most powerful amateur astronomy facility in the world, and in August 2011 he opened a second permanent telescope in his garden, the mini-WASP deep-sky imaging array, named after the UK's SuperWASP extra-solar planetary detection array.
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