photo of joel tonyan

Hi, my name is Joel Tonyan. I'm an academic librarian by trade, and an amateur photographer and astronomer by hobby. Thanks for visiting my website.

I've been an amateur astronomer since 2007. Having never looked through a telescope before, I attended a public observing night that year at Powell Observatory in Louisburg, Kansas. The Astronomical Society of Kansas City (ASKC) hosted the event and, beyond the thrilling views of Saturn and the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) through the observatory's 30-inch Newtonian reflector, what excited me the most was the incredible views offered by the amateur equipment the ASKC's members generously shared with the public that night. I was immediately hooked and within days had purchased a set of binoculars to explore the night sky.

In the past decade, I've observed the solar system's seven other planets, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the sun, and several comets. Beyond our solar system, I've located and observed the 109 galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters that comprise the Messier list; everything on the SAC's list of 110 Best of Objects of the NGC; and more than 150 targets on the Herschel 400.

photo of me imaging

After several years of observing, my interests turned to photography. My first photos were of the moon during a total lunar eclipse in 2010. I used a simple setup: a DSLR camera connected to an 80mm refractor telescope, riding on an unmotorized equatorial mount. As I added new equipment and my setup improved, my targets expanded to include the planets, our sun, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. I've also photographed several comets, lunar and solar eclipses, and Mercury and Venus transiting the sun.

My astrophotography has been featured on the BBC television show Sky at Night, in Astronomy magazine, on Time's and National Geographic's websites, and various other places.

My interest in astrophotography has led to a general interest in photography. I particularly enjoy landscape photography and always have my camera with me when hiking around Colorado. More recently, I began taking long exposure photos of the Milky Way and the stars.

I also enjoy giving talks at colleges and elementary schools about amateur astronomy and astrophotography, hoping to inspire others to explore the stars with a camera, a telescope, or even just a pair of binoculars.

If you like my work, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr. Or complete my contact form to message me. Thanks again for visiting!