Time lapse video: from North Carolina to the galactic center

By Phil Plait | June 15, 2011 10:02 am

I’ve never been to the outer banks of North Carolina, but I know it gets pretty dark there. The nearest big towns are miles away, and that means very little light pollution and very dark skies. Couple that with a time lapse camera and a solid sense of drama, and you can get a beautiful and surreal video, like this one made by Daniel Lowe:

[Make sure you set it to HD and make it full screen!]

Very nice! There are several parts I like in particular, like the lighthouse at 2:50, and what looks like a fire raging on the horizon at 2:10.

One thing that’s really cool about all these time lapse videos is the use of a rail that allows the camera to slowly move, strongly accenting the ethereal, dreamlike nature of the shots. One thing Daniel did that I like is to set the pan motion to move left-to-right, so that it roughly tracks the stars’ motion across the sky. The stars move in an arc, while the camera moves linearly, but it still sets up the shot such that some stars are nearly motionless in the frame. [UPDATE (July 26, 2011): Daniel has posted an article on how this video was made.]

The star (haha) of this show is the Milky Way itself; the bulge of the center of our spiral galaxy looming large. The constellation of Scorpius, the scorpion, is also featured. The very bright orange star you can see to the right of the Milky Way bulge is Antares, a red supergiant. It’s one of the brightest stars in the sky, and one day will explode. When it does, it will outshine the full Moon! Too bad we’ll have to wait a few hundred thousand years to see that…

Tip o’ the North Carolina BBQ sauce bottle to Bobby Nichols.

Related posts:

Gorgeous Milky Way Time Lapse
Very Large Telescope, Very Stunning Time Lapse Video
Incredibly, impossibly beautiful time lapse video
Dust, from the desert below to the galaxy above
Stunning winter sky timelapse video: Sub Zero
OK, because I like y’all: bonus aurora timelapse video
AWESOME timelapse video: Rapture


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