Michael A. Stecker


David Malin
Sydney, Australia

Young David Malin in 1976 at his prime (near the prime focus of the AAT)

" I was using glass plates, which is what I did for over 20 years. That involved riding in the prime focus cage at the top of the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope all night, a duty I often shared with my friend, AAO telescope operator Steve Lee. I enjoyed that a lot, sitting beneath the stars, a  Hasselblad attached to the edge of the PF cage making lond-exposure, wide-angle exposures of the field the AAT was pointing at."

"There was quite a bit of skill involved in this, especially  hypersensitizing the plates and extracting the best scientific information from them. There are also skills involved in using a large telescope to extract as much data as possible from any given night.  There's nothing quite like the feeling you get leaving the AAT dome as the sun comes up and you have a dozen perfect plates drying in the darkroom."


David Malin in 2000

"The CCD came on the scene in the mid 1990s (that shown in the picture above is a later device) and there was neither room nor necessity to ride the cage when that was used. I did some CCD observing with the AAT towards the end of my career and some of the pictures we took (again often with Steve Lee) are on http://www.aao.gov.au/images/general/aatccd.html "

"The colour images I made from glass plates from a variety of telescopes are on
the various pages accessible from
http://www.aao.gov.au/images/general/sitemap.html "

"I have also recently been working up some data I have had for a while showing the faint features of bright galaxies, e.g."

"These pages are not yet complete, but you can browse an interesting list of
galaxies on"

an additional photo of David can be seen at:
People 2

photos of the Anglo-Australian Observatory (Siding Springs) are at:


Contact information
David Malin Images:

David Malinís Photomicrography:

David Malinís  Anglo-Australian Home page: http://www.aao.gov.au/images/general/malin.html
AAO images:

Locator Map
Level of accuracy: Sidney, Australia

(see: http://www.aao.gov.au/images/general/malin.html)

My name is David Malin and I live in Sydney Australia.  My main interests are photographic science and scientific photography, faint galaxies (as well as words, history, politics, travel, wine ... is there anything else?). I also run a specialized photo-agency offering (mainly to publishers) some of my own early work using microscopes as well as work from photographers whose work I admire (http://davidmalin.com/index.html).  I'm retired but active, especially lecturing all over the world, and writing, currently helping to make a new edition of
"The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography".

I was born in England in March, 1941 but have lived in Sydney since 1975, when I joined the AAO. Before I moved to Australia I had another 18-year career as a chemist, specializing in optical and electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and other techniques for exploring the very small. One of my main interests at that time was photography, both from the scientific perspective and also as a medium for personal expression. That interest has been greatly enhanced in astronomy, and I enjoy using powerful images to reveal unsuspected or hidden aspects of the
natural world. 

Along the way I have devised novel ways of extracting more information from photographs. These techniques have led to some interesting astronomical discoveries as well as being useful advances in photographic science. They have been incorporated into a method of making a series of unique three-colour astronomical photographs, many of which reveal the unsuspected beauty and glorious colour of astronomical objects. There's a nice video about this( The Man who Colours Stars). I was delighted to receive the Lennart Nilsson Award for this aspect of my work in September 2000.

The colour photographs attract thousands of queries a year from around the world and certainly keep David Malin Images busy. For many years I have had a full lecture schedule, mostly in the form of 'popular' public talks, which continues, but at a less frenetic pace. I don't keep this page up-to-date anymore. I also have a series of travelling photographic exhibitions and increasingly, exhibitions in art galleries (as opposed to science museums). 

I live on the northern ourskirts of Sydney with my wife Phillipa. Our three children, James, and the twins Jenny and Sara have long-since left home and we have three grandchildren. In our free time my wife and I enjoy music, travelling, exploring Australia's beautiful coastline and working on and around our house, which overlooks one of the arms of Pittwater in Sydney's beautiful Northern Beaches area. 

I often get asked about the photographic techniques I have developed, so here is a brief overview of some aspects of it and a more detailed illustrated technical description which is a tour of some of the ideas involved. I have also put together an illustrated bibliography which points to some of the key photographic publications. 

Astrophotography publications
(see: http://www.aao.gov.au/images/general/genpap.html#Books)

Books by David Malin
Catalogue of the Universe, 1979, 1980
Catlogo dell'universo (Italian), 1981

Colours of the Stars, 1984
Couleurs des …toiles (French edition, 1986)
Farbige Welt der Sterne (German edition)  

A View of the Universe, 1993

Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes
by E.J. Hartung. Revised and illustrated by David Malin, 1995

Explorers of the Southern Sky: A History of Astronomy in Australia , 1996

Night Skies: the Art of Deep Space by David Malin and Eileen Slarke, 1997

The Invisible Universe, 1999
L'Universo Invisible (Italian edition), 1999
Invisible Universe
(Japanese edition), 1999
L'Universe Invisible (French edition), 2000

     Das Unsichtbare Universum (German edition), 2000

Deep Sky Object (in Japanese), 2000

David Malinís Contributions to other books
The Astronomy Encyclopaedia

Astronomical Photography under the Microscope
(in Today's Science Tomorrow's Technology)

The Astronomical Photography of Gerard de Vaucouleurs (in A Life for Astronomy)

The Disappearance of the Night Sky ( in The Vanishing Universe)

Astronomy from Wide-Field Imaging (proceedings of IAU Symposium 161)

Colour and Light in Astronomy and Photography and the Birth of Astrophysics

The Milky Way and Galaxies (in The Universe Revealed, 1998)

Astronomical Color Photography (in Encyclopedia of Science and Technology,1999)

Symmetry and Colour in Art and Science (in Intersections in Art and ScienceSymmetry: Art and Science, 2001)

Introduction to Images in Science,2002

Images from the Universe (in Images from Science Karolinsk University Press 2003)

Introduction to Heaven and Earth: unseen by the naked eye, 2002

David Malin on astronomical imaging in Massive Change, 2004)

David Malin contributed articles to the following magazines

ABC Radio's 'Science Bookshop'

Anglo-Australian Telescope Board

Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Astronomy magazine

Astronomy Now

Australian Geographic 

Australian Natural History

Beeldbewerking in de astrophotographie Dutch astronomy magazine

Current Science Published by the Indian Academy of Sciences

Ciel et Espace   

Geigy Circle

 Guide to Australian Astronomy

 Illum. Eng. Soc. Austral. Rev

 Illustrated London News

Illustreret Videnskab (Copenhagen)

Journal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

J. Brit. astron. Assoc

Kijk Magazine

Kleurrijk heelal Zenit, (Utrecht) Dutch astronomy magazine


New Scientist

Newsletter of the Australian Astronomy and Space Liason Group
North West and Hunter

Popular Astronomy

Publ. Astron Soc Aus.

Qantas Inflight Magazine

Scientific American

Sky and Telescope

Society for the Interdisciplinary Study of Symmetry

Southern Astronomy

Space Odyssey
, an exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center, Mito Japan

Sterne und Weltraum (German)


Temmon Gaido (Japan)

The Australian

The Observatory

The Southern Sky, a CSIRO Publication 
The Times of India Educational Supplement


David Malin Scientific Papers and Patents
see: http://www.aao.gov.au/images/general/scipap.html

Refereed Journals, 75 listings
Non-Refereed Journals, Conference Proceedings, etc: 52 listings

Slide sets
see: http://www.aao.gov.au/images/general/photsales.html#slides

Recent Work

The colour images I made from glass plates from a variety of telescopes
are on the various pages accessible from

I have also recently been working up some data I have had for a while
showing the faint features of bright galaxies, e.g.
These pages are not yet complete, but you can browse an interesting
list of galaxies on


back link