By Aditya Chopra

A Solargraph at Bayfordbury. Image Credit: Regina Valkenborgh and Astronomy Picture of the Day.

It is a hot, sunny afternoon in Perth and I am doing my daily check of APOD… today’s picture is Day’s in the Sun. I think you will agree it is an ‘interesting’ picture but what got my attention was that this picture was painted by our very own Sun – we just provided it with a canvas!

Solargraphy is a photographic method for recording the paths of the Sun and it is so easy, you will think it is magic. It is literally a diary of the dynamic process on Earth and the Sun.

All you need is a pin-hole camera made from a beer can, some photographic paper (available from eBay), a scanner and a computer. And yes, you get to drink the beer if you’re over 18!

Simple but step-by-step instructions can be found here.

Now all you need is time… about 6 months to a year. The Sun is a slow painter. By pointing the pin-hole camera to the Sun and exposing the photographic paper for such a long exposure, you will capture the path that the Sun takes each day across the sky. In the resulting photo, you should see some dark gaps in the daily arcs caused by cloud cover and bright tracks recording sunny weather, the kind we are enjoying in Perth these days.

I am going to set some up in a couple of places at uni when I get back to Canberra next week. I’ll let you know what my space art looks like in a few months. When you’ve got your solargraph, do send it to me at adi@mso.anu.edu.au and in return I’ll send you something from our research school’s vault (a.k.a something cool lying around my desk)!