A well known amateur astronomer and comet photographer, Alan McClure was a member of Stony Ridge Observatory for a short time, serving on the SRO Executive Committee as an Expediter during the planning and construction phases between 1957
Alan's comet photography has been widely published in scientific papers and texts,
and on magazine covers (Sky & Telescope). A number of his photographs were also published
in the classic Burnham's Celestial Handbook.
<- This photo of Comet Arend-Roland was taken by Alan McClure
on April 24, 1957 and presented to the members of SRO at a meeting the
next night. This image clearly shows the rare anti-tail, or sun-pointing
tail feature of this comet. Anti-tails have been produced by only a
few comets in history, some being C/Arend-Roland (1957), C/Hale-Bopp
(1995), C/Kohoutek (1973). The anti-tail is not actually pointing toward
the Sun, but is a projection effect of dust in the comet's orbital path.
The dust in the path behind the comet becomes visible when the comet's
orbit lies in the same plane as the Earth's.