Tom Masterson

Transient  Astronomer 


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 gift of a telescope from my loving partner and parents 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 couldn't grow fast enough on my own so I found Terry Hancock and applied to be a student of his, and it changed my life :-) I implore you to check out his website and to sign up for his tuition: www.downunderobservatory.com 


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 a beta tester for Grand Mesa Observatory, a photographer for 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 automation. I live in Los Angeles with my partner Victoria, a Jack Russell terrier named Frida, and shorthair cat called Melissa.  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. 

Our family decided to 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 a somewhat average 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): www.apod.nasa.gov

Flickr Explore: https://www.flickr.com/explore

Friends of NASA: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfNASA/

BBC Sky at Night: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mk7h

Astronomy Now: http://www.astronomynow.com

City of Astronomy: http://www.cityofastronomy.org/mt-wilson/

Mount Wilson Observatory: https://www.mtwilson.edu/

Grand Mesa Observatory: http://www.grandmesaobservatory.com/

Universe Today: http://www.universetoday.com/

Palazzi Kalender: http://www.palazzi.de/


LICENSING 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 www.transientastronomer.com 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.

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