10 Astounding Astrophotos by Phil Hart

10 Astounding Astrophotos by Phil Hart


This post is by regular contributer Neil Creek – author of our Photo Nuts and Bolts, Photo Nuts and Shots and Photo Nuts and Post eBooks.

The universe is stunningly beautiful.

Orion Mosaic   © Phil Hart

Phil Hart is an Australian amateur astronomer and astrophotographer. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him for many years, and in that time I have watched his skill at photographing the night sky grow in leaps and bounds. He has been published several times in a number of major international astronomy magazines, and his photos are some of the best examples of astrophotography I have seen. Using only relatively simple and inexpensive equipment, he combines his skill with the camera and with processing software to create breath-taking images of nebulae, star clusters, aurorae and other heavenly bodies.

I have assembled a collection of my favourite of his works here for your enjoyment. I hope these photos inspire the same wonder at the universe and respect for Phil’s skills as they do for me. If you like Phil’s work, please consider purchasing a print of one of the available photos. A link is provided to a print where it is available. To view the images at larger sizes, click on them and you will be taken to Phil’s gallery.


Pleiades Star Cluster   © Phil Hart
Print Available

Star Trail   © Phil Hart
Comet McNaught from Mt Macedon   © Phil Hart
Print Available
Eta Carinae Nebula   © Phil Hart
Five Moons   © Phil Hart
Print Available
Globular Cluster 47 Tucanae   © Phil Hart
Iceland Aurora   © Phil Hart
Print Available
Rosette Nebula   © Phil Hart
Rho Ophiuchi & Antares   © Phil Hart

A word from Phil about the technical details of the photos: “Most of these images were taken with Canon Digital SLRs specifically modifed for astrophotography. A Takahashi 530mm focal length telescope has also been used for most of these ‘deep sky’ shots while standard wide angle lenses were used for the Aurora Borealis over Iceland and the Star Trail image.”

For forther information, please see the following links:


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Neil Creek is a professional photographer from Melbourne, Australia. He has been shooting with a DSLR since 2004, and blogging about his experiences since 2006. Neil has authored five ebooks and a video training course, all designed to help others improve their photography. View Neil's folio at his home page. Learn about his publications here.

Some Older Comments

  • Rashid Mukoon February 4, 2011 05:56 pm

    Thanks a lot for these wonderful images, but i feel sad that i cannot be with you in Australia. Will it be possible to mail a few tips? My best regards.

  • Affordable Stock Images Philippines January 12, 2011 05:49 am

    Very impressive photos. I love Aurora, I wish to it someday. Great images, very nice.

  • jinky October 21, 2009 04:46 pm

    very creative shots!

  • Joette August 27, 2009 11:49 pm

    WOW Thanks!

  • Christoph August 26, 2009 12:40 pm

    The solar eclipse last month was a great chance and I managed to take these pictures:

  • Hugh August 26, 2009 10:40 am

    Great Photo's very insperational.

    Any chance you could write a quick "how to" using camera, tripod & kit lens.

    I've tried a couple of times but never seem to get ISO, apeture or shutter speed to work together to give any sort of half decent image.

    I live in South West Australia, and we have propbably the best night skys in the world. Looking up at the night sky beats watching TV.

    Hugh (D60 user in training)

  • John Kirk August 25, 2009 04:34 pm

    I have a Canon 350D and have purchased the attachement to connect it to my 6" newtonian. But I have not been able to get any images. I have tried some astronomy books but nothing tells you how to set up the gear in the first place.

    Any help to begin this fascinating journey would be joyfully received

  • Tiffany Teoh February 3, 2009 01:58 pm

    OMG!!!! these pictures just left me... speechless!!!!!!!!!!

  • stargazer December 2, 2008 03:51 pm

    amazing angles on the vastness of our reality. they look so close to eachother, but everything is relative. like einstein said.

  • K. Ozan December 2, 2008 10:15 am

    like the universe, creativity is limitless

  • Alex Antonites December 1, 2008 06:13 am

    Filled with awe when struck by these visuals. Feeling small in front of this. Of the best that I have seen and very good quality

  • C Tsang November 23, 2008 03:09 pm

    Oh... never mind. I only saw the 2nd post on DPS about how to use stacking to create the images. :)

  • C Tsang November 23, 2008 02:33 pm

    I went to look at the star trail photo and the additional information and it indicated a F stop of 3.5 and shutterspeed of 30 seconds, at ISO1600. Are these correct??!

    I would have assumed it would have taken much longer than that to achieve the amount of trail light?? I have a 20D as well and had been wanting to try capturing star trails, but haven't been very successful - must be in the wrong spot!! I need a night sky with more stars!

  • Digital Photography, Gadget and Technology November 22, 2008 11:28 pm

    amazing photo thanks

  • c wylie November 22, 2008 12:11 pm

    Nothing makes you feel small, in a good way, like gazing into space.

  • Phil T. November 22, 2008 09:19 am

    I would like to do some astrophotography in the future and would like to learn from some of the bestin the field. Does Phil Hart have any books that offer his photo or astrophotography techniques? Does he use stacking software and if so what would he suggest for the beginner?

  • Paul Richards November 22, 2008 04:04 am

    Every time I see photos like these, and these are some of the best ever, I kick myself for not pursuing a career in astronomy. Forty years ago I chose electrical engineering and my career was excellent. But astronomy might have been even better. Thanks for these amazing photos.

  • Pete Langlois November 22, 2008 03:14 am


    These are all spectacular images. I will try and capture some meteor showers again this year. Last year, where ever the camera was pointed, the meteors weren't showing up.


  • skollie November 22, 2008 02:49 am

    Phil, that's incredible. As a fellow 20D owner, I'm astounded by the quality the lenses are giving you - will have to try something similar one day. ;)

    Thanks for sharing these with us.

  • Anthony Arrigo November 22, 2008 01:29 am

    Absolutely amazing images! More people need to see these as it might help to grow astronomy's popularity among the general public. These views help to put a perspective on our place in the universe. Thanks!

  • jimi rowland November 22, 2008 12:57 am

    Some of the most amazing photos I have ever seen!

  • The Floating frog November 21, 2008 11:58 pm

    OMG these are amazing!

  • Nintendo wii mario kart November 21, 2008 09:19 pm

    What a magic colllection. I did forget everything for a while after seeing these all. Thanks dear for posting such wonderful magical photos.

  • Jo November 21, 2008 03:43 pm

    was just passin' through and suddenly filled with wonder--nice end to my night, thanks

  • Wayne John November 21, 2008 03:11 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful shots. Those are simply amazing. The Pleiades Star Cluster photo is incredible.

  • AccountingElf November 21, 2008 03:10 pm

    The first one reminds me of stars mixed with muscles... like human hearts. (Ok, I watch too many crime shows, yes.) But it's pretty!

    I think my favorite is the aurora.

  • MK (Casey) van Bronkhorst November 21, 2008 03:00 pm

    Phenomenal. Stunning visuals and a talent that should be cherished.

  • Connie November 21, 2008 01:36 pm

    My husband 3 years back did some great astrophotography with an eight inch telescope with autotracer, a automoble battery charger for his laptop and a coolpix 995. It was great fun and totally portable, before you could be. He even bought the scope used. The pictures really surpised people, many off them were film or did not like computer use. He was involed with the Black River Club in Ohio & some guys from Oberlin College.

  • Beth November 21, 2008 10:52 am

    Thank you so much for posting this article - I'm putting the 'Five Moons' photograph on my Christmas wish list. Beautiful!

  • Phil November 21, 2008 09:41 am

    Perhaps I should qualify the term 'relatively inexpensive'! :-)

    Three of the photos were taken with a standard Canon 20D and affordable lenses - Comet McNaught and Aurora with the standard kit lens and the Star Trail with a 10-22mm EF-S lens. I also have many other great shots with a 50mm f1.4 lens. The 200mm f2.8 lens used for the last image is more expensive but awesome for astrophotography and daytime work.

    The telescope I purchased while working the UK at a discount price, but the combination yields results that were not available at all to amateurs only a decade or so ago. Much more affordable equipment can achieve pretty similar results.. eg Borg line of equipment at http://www.sciencecenter.net/hutech/


  • Joetek November 21, 2008 08:10 am

    Wow. These look like they're straight from the Hubble, not off of a DSLR! Spectacular!

  • Char (Online Tutor: Academic Mentor) November 21, 2008 07:34 am

    that is some amazing photos. I really like the five moons, maybe it’s the colours. I think many youth could be inspired by shots like these to follow their passions.

  • Katherine November 21, 2008 06:54 am

    Awesome Photos!

  • myln November 21, 2008 06:48 am

    amazing photos! well done

  • Sandy W November 21, 2008 06:19 am

    Absolutly amazing!! you really feel you are in the midst of it all,& so calming!! Great work,congratulations!!

  • Mandy November 21, 2008 06:11 am

    These are amazing, I'd love to just be able to take the moon!

  • sk66 November 21, 2008 05:34 am

    After seeing these amazing photos I immediately went to look up 530mm telescopes.

    "Using only relatively simple and inexpensive equipment"

    "Realtively" is the key word here! $11,000! I guess it's not in my immediate future :{

    Too bad too, these pics are Cool!

  • M November 21, 2008 05:07 am


  • Fernando November 21, 2008 04:13 am

    "Phil Hart is an Australian amateur astronomer and astrophotographer" ???????

    Phil Hart does not look like an "amateur" anything to me!! Those shots are AMAZING!!!
    I have always loved astophotography, unfortunately I dont quite have the gear to take those kinds of shots.... maybe some day!

  • cathyetta November 21, 2008 04:04 am

    thank you Phil for showing us something we may never view for ourselves

  • Alli November 21, 2008 03:52 am

    Excellent images. We have a friend here in the states who has been doing Astrophotography for about a year now. You should check him out at http://flintstonestargazing.com/

  • mysticeyes November 21, 2008 03:33 am

    wow awesome work!