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(Quick selfie on top of the 100in Hooker Telescope north pier) 

Welcome to my page! I'm Tom Masterson, a Los Angeles-based amateur astronomer, astrophotographer and photographer. 

For as long as I can remember, I've always been fascinated with astronomy and the cosmos. I remember growing up watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos and developing an ardent love for all things outer space. It wasn't until 2012 that I received a birthday gift of a telescope that I caught the astronomy bug in full force. Since then I've purchased a couple telescopes, mounts, cameras, and lenses and have been obsessed with astrophotography. I fumbled around in the dark for a couple years until I came across Terry Hancock's one on one tutorials which helped to grow my skills and knowledgebase. You can check out his tutorials and website here: 


Today I focus mostly on tracked astrophotography, nightscape images, and solar system objects, I do also shoot some daytime landscapes and other kinds of photography. I am the Assistant Director at Grand Mesa Observatory, a Photographer, Technical Volunteer, and Telescope Operator at Mount Wilson Observatory and a member of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and Western Colorado Astronomy Club. By day I work in the information technology  and low voltage field, mostly relating to computer administration, networking, security, and building automation. I also enjoy music, bicycle riding, hiking, camping, surfing, snowboarding, and science fiction. 

What's with the name Transient Astronomer? 

There's a whole field of astronomical study about transient astronomy, or more specifically, transient astronomical events. While I do shoot transient astronomical events — comets, supernova, eclipses, conjunctions, etc. — the name is from a longer story, also about time and place. 

I made the move from Chicago to Los Angeles in the spring of 2014, and while in transit I changed the page name to Transient Astronomer. It stuck. I also realized that you need to go to really dark places to shoot astrophotography, and because of my desire to live in a city, I travel a lot to shoot my images. When you think about it, we are all transitory beings moving through time and space floating on a ball of dirt around an average size star circling the center of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, that's also moving towards the common center of our local galactic group.

We are always in transit :-)  

My images have been published around the internet and in print, here's a list of some (usually credited to Tom Masterson or other collaborators):


NASA Astronomy Picture of the  Day (APOD):

Flickr Explore:

Friends of NASA:

BBC Sky at Night:

Astronomy Now:

City of Astronomy:

Mount Wilson Observatory:

Grand Mesa Observatory:

Universe Today:

Palazzi Kalender:


LICENSE DISCLAIMER If you would like to use any of the images on this page for personal use please don't hesitate. All that I ask is that if possible you credit them to the imager(s) that assembled them by checking the image description. Or simply credit Transient Astronomer when applicable. If you have any questions about credit information or general image information, don't hesitate to send me an message on the contact page. I also license images for commercial and publication use, so if you need to license an image please send me a message in the contact page to discuss terms. 

I and/or the people who assembled or took any image on or any of my social media pages reserve full rights to these images and the right to remove or revoke any image from a publication/website/other media outlet at any time and for any reason.

C L E A R  S K I E S 

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