Time lapse: The Wagging Pole – Night Watch

By Phil Plait | October 2, 2011 8:47 am

Graham Gaunt is a photographer who sent me this time lapse video he made of the skies over Cornwall, UK. It’s not remarkable so much for the photography — which is quite lovely — but because in the extreme southwest UK summer nights, according to Graham, tend to be cloudy.

I like the shots of the stars through the clouds; the difference in relative motion is somehow both eerie and soothing. The familiar sight of Orion, the Pleiades, Taurus, and Sirius coming in at about 1:20 is quite nice.

The thing is… "Wagging Pole"? I asked Graham what it means. At about a minute in, keep your eyes on the third power line pole down the road. It moves, wagging around! He said it was in a loose hole, but when he first saw it it freaked him out a little, so he decided to give it title billing.

Related posts:

Stunning Finnish aurora time lapse
Wyoming skies
Another jaw-dropping time lapse video: Tempest
Time lapse: Journey Through Canyons
Down under Milky Way time lapse
Alps lapse

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Comments (8)

  1. Chris

    Oh at about 1:52, you can see a geosynchronous satellite above the closest rock. It’s amazing out of the millions of points of light, I can see one that doesn’t move with the rest.

  2. Robin Byron

    Chris #1 I thought that was Polaris with Draco to the left. Too much coffee, I guess. I suppose I should go pull weeds now (darn japanese clover).

  3. Chris

    It’s about a cm above the middle of the rock in front (at least on my screen) you can see the stars moving, but one point of light remains stationary. Polaris has everything spin around it, but here is a point that the stars move past.

  4. Robin Byron

    Chris — Ah, found it. I just needed a darker room and cleaner glasses. Great find.

  5. Ganzy

    Well spotted Chris, had to watch 4x and scrub my screen 2x to be sure ūüėČ

  6. Ganzy

    Aww man, you just caused me to find a dead pixel on my screen after that! I was just getting excited enough to point out another Geo-stationary… But it appeared on every scene… in the same place… Humphhh…

  7. I think as a rational, empirically-minded skeptic, I would like to weigh in on what’s going on with the pole:


  8. Alexander McLin

    It’s amusing to see how the lights of all the moving vehicles give them an eerie appearance very much alike to the entities in the “Close Encounter of the Third Kind”. I guess we’ve become our own UFOs.


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