AAA Astrophotographers Gather Year-Long Accolades

The AAA Astrophotography group grew tremendously in size in 2017 while producing stunning images of astronomical events. Evolving in mid-2015 from AAA members who took the Night Sky Photography classes and wanted to continue improving their techniques, the group initially shared pictures and comments on the Astrophotography Google group email. This has become one of the most active groups in AAA with postings of many photos and quite lively discussions.

The group started to meet in person regularly to show and discuss terrestrial wide field photos and deep sky images. These regular meetups have presentations ranging from photos taken in far flung places to image processing demonstrations to deep sky imaging techniques to timelapse video methods. A large group turned out for the Aug. 30 showing of the total solar eclipse photos and videos taken by 12 of the group members.

credit: Mauri Rosenthal
Rosette Nebula, NGC 2238

Recently the group established an Instagram account @aaany_astrophotography and a YouTube channel found at “AAA Astrophotography”. The Instagram page has become quite popular, showcasing the wide range of subjects. The video of the solar eclipse images shown at Starfest is posted on the YouTube channel and the best of 2017 images and videos will be posted right after the holiday party.

Maggie Machinsky, who is a frequent Instagram poster (@photo.gypsea), was featured on the Nikon Instagram page. In honor of the 100 th anniversary of Nikon the company did a campaign featuring 100 Nikon photographers (#Nikon100) and shared their work on social media. Three of Maggie’s pictures were on @nikonusa on Nov 14.

Chirag Upreti had photos featured on the TWAN guest page,, @universetoday, the PhotoPills and NBC Instagram sites. Featured on the #YourESA Instagram were Ed Rojas and Gowrishankar L. Gowri was also featured on, and @universetoday Instagram.

Stan Honda garnered two Astronomy Pictures of the Day (APOD)—on Jan. 6 of a crescent moon set and the Statue of Liberty and June 16 of a full moon rising behind lower Manhattan. One of Stan’s eclipse photos was part of the APOD Facebook page of best eclipse images.

Also during the eclipse, Antoine Ribaut was working with a Time Magazine team in Wyoming to produce the live feed video seen by millions on the Time website.

Alfredo Viegas, Thomas Cuccia, Mauri Rosenthal and Joe DiNapoli shared excellent deep sky images taken through their telescope/CCD camera set ups and provided detailed advice and instructions on equipment, techniques and processing. Mauri’s goal is to have an entire imaging set up that he can put in a small backpack to travel on a train and two subways from his home in Yonkers to the High Line for the AAA Tuesday night observing sessions. On his Surface computer, he shows images to passersby of objects like the Andromeda Galaxy as they are being created in real time from the middle of Manhattan.

Astrophotographers became a growing part of the AAA Dark Sky Observing trips to NorthSouth Lake in the Catskills. When the sky is clear, amazing images are produced from the site and posted to the group email.

Traveling to dark sky sites has become a passion of several in the group. Trips to New Mexico, Acadia, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks, the eastern Sierra Nevada and Iceland were some of the destinations. For the Aug. 21 eclipse, group members were in locations spanning from Oregon to South Carolina along the path of totality.

Near the end of December, released their “Best Space Photos of 2017” gallery and AAA Astrophotographers were honored with 14 of the 100 pictures. Gowri led the group with an astonishing eight photos, taken in places ranging from New York City to North-South Lake to Jenny Jump State Park in New Jersey to Wyoming. Stan had three images, Chirag two and Alexander Krivenyshev one.

Tom Cuccia and his wife Amanda were productive on another front—on Dec. 10 they announced the birth of Leonardo Adonis Cuccia, the newest imager in the group.

All in all, a very successful year for the Astrophotography group.