Alps lapse

By Phil Plait | June 23, 2011 1:30 pm

I’ve had a turbulent couple of days, so watching this time lapse of laminar flow of clouds over the Swiss Alps was just what I needed:

Very pretty! There’s some astronomy in there as well; in several of the clips as the Milky Way passes by you can also spot the Andromeda galaxy; Orion can be seen in others as well. I think my favorite part was seeing airplane contrails pop into existence and then stream away with the clouds. The video is by Patryk Kizny, who also did the time lapse video of the star party in Poland.

And yeah, there’s turbulent flow there as well. But from a distance, that’s pretty too.

Tip o’ the mug o’ cocoa to Patryk Kizny.

Related posts:

Time lapse video: from North Carolina to the galactic center
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

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Comments (18)

  1. Pete Jackson

    Wow! The way the camera slowly pans in time lapse is amazing. It must take quite a sophisticated mounting to do that with no jerking.

    Thanks, Phil, for bringing these to us!

  2. These guys do great stuff.. this was a LOT of work.

  3. Eric

    The panning in these videos typically isn’t done via a gyro or mounting, as that is a significant expense for many montage-makers like this. Instead, they’ll take a portion of the video feed and zoom/pan within that video. If you took two stills, it would look like someone was cropping the still to different areas; if the stills are close to one another in the time-lapse, they’ll look nearly identical, while stills from opposite ends of the feed might looks like completely different locations and cameras. I’m not saying that mountings aren’t used, just that for many people, a camera is already enough of an expense to warrant easier/cheaper methods of non-static video displays.

    Also, fantastic video! This is why I follow you on Twitter!

  4. keon

    @Pete Jackson

    actually he credits the time lapse camera mount in the credits, it’s called the DitoGear OmniSlider, and yes it looks to be a very sophisticated camera mount.

    amazing video.

  5. Matt A

    I’m moving to Switzerland in less than a month. Seeing this has only made me keener to get there. Thanks for sharing it…

  6. Salt

    I loved the literal fluidity of the atmosphere–the clouds rising, ‘boiling’ and sinking around the peaks. What town was that in the valley? I didn’t cotton to its being there until the lights came on in the sunset sequences.

  7. Siphon


    Hope you are past your turbulence and are on to smoother flying, Phil.

  8. Messier Tidy Upper

    Thanks BA – I love these! :-)

    Normally clouds and astronomy really don’t mix (Magellanic Clouds aside) but this one manages to combine them splendidly. :-)

    Looks like this marks another high peak in beautiful clips. ūüėČ

  9. I always love when you post these videos, but after a lot of them I’m left with a question. Do climatologists use these videos or hire these people to make them? In a number of shots in previous videos and definitely in this video, you really see, as Salt put it, the “fluidity of the atmosphere”. Given how important clouds are in understanding our environment, it seems that having videos like this would be of great benefit to understanding the growth, evolution, and dissipation of clouds, the fluid similarities (and especially, why water and clouds behave differently), and probably a whole bunch more things that I haven’t thought of. Ooh, satellites! I know National Geographic puts out an excellent satellite atlas every once in a while. I bet you could see the growth of the Sahara just from those alone, and if you had one picture a year, or a month, of one specific place, I bet you could get some really informative videos from that. Probably someone has already thought of this, I just get excited by examples of how space exploration can have a vital impact on Human society.

  10. Sir Craig

    Simply. Freaking. Stunning.

    This is what I want to do now that I’m retired.

  11. Rallick

    Beautiful. And I’d like to give a special mention to the music – it was wonderful. I must see if I can find that song somewhere!

  12. Aubri

    The suddenly-appearing contrails made my Halo brain yell, “Sniper!”

  13. 11. Rallick Says: “I‚Äôd like to give a special mention to the music ‚Äď it was wonderful.”

    Interesting. I had just the opposite reaction. I found it quite jarring in both style and appropriateness to the images.

    – Jack

  14. Salt Says: “I loved the literal fluidity of the atmosphere‚Äďthe clouds rising, ‚Äėboiling‚Äô and sinking around the peaks.”

    I was struck by that as well. I was thinking how much it looks like liquid water, but at a much lower density and on a much longer time scale over a much larger volume. Must be some sort of Reynolds Number thing at work here.

    – Jack

  15. I love how the car’s headlights render as flashes and streaks within the exposures. Very Koyaanisqatsi for the digital age.

  16. Gavin Flower

    I am using Firefox 5, which does support HTML 5 – but the there is a message in the video slot saying I need to a modern browser which supports HTML 5!!!


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