Southern skies time lapse: Nocturnal

By Phil Plait | July 28, 2012 7:15 am

Oh my, another amazing time lapse of the night sky: Nocturnal, by photographer Colin Legg (whose work we’ve seen here before on the BABlog), shows southern skies wheeling and turning majestically overhead.

[Note: For reasons I don’t understand, the wrong video was linked here originally. It’s fixed now, and I apologize for that.]

Yegads. Pay attention at the 30 second mark as the Southern Cross and Alpha and Beta Centauri rise above a mountain, then at 40 seconds when Comet Lovejoy rises dramatically over the horizon, and again at 49 seconds when a meteor zips across the sky, leaving a persistent train that gets whipped and frothed by high-altitude winds.

In fact, just pay attention to the whole thing. It’s gorgeous. And I’m not alone: this video won the best animation category of the 2012 David Malin awards. Malin is one of the best astrophotographers who has ever lived, so this is a prestigious recognition indeed. And well-deserved.

Tip o’ the lens cap to Colin Legg himself for letting me know about it.

Related Posts:

A meteor’s lingering tale
One more Lovejoy time lapse… maybe the last
INSANELY cool picture of Comet Lovejoy
Time lapse: old rocks and old skies
Time lapse: Under the Namibian Sky

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Colin Legg, time lapse

Comments (21)

  1. theMark

    Not to be one for nitpicking, but there seems to be some kind of mix-up – the link and embedded video say “San Pedro Matir Observatory” and “Stéphane Guisard” – is this one really “Nocturnal” by Colin Legg?

  2. FMCH

    I was thinking the same thing theMark.

  3. No it’s not. The Prize-winning video is here:

  4. carbonUnit

    Ah, that’s not the video we were looking for. Here it is:

    (paste into your browser to httpenate.)

  5. carbonUnit

    And here’s the correct link pre-httpenated once it clears moderation.


  6. DerekH

    Hmm… I’d posted a link to the correct source, but it appears to be stuck in moderation limbo…

    Edit: Aaah! do posts containing links go through moderation, whereas others don’t? Live and learn, eh?

  7. Fixed. Weird, the draft post was fine! I don’t know what happened there.

  8. Superb clip. Cheers! :-)

    Saw the David Malin astrophoto winners at the RiOz (Adelaide – linked to my name here) a week or two ago and have just heard these new ones – incl. this for the animation category I take it – have already been announced and will be displayed at the South Australian museum June* next year. Pencil it in if you have a 2013 calendar already folks.

    Assuming you’re Aussie or will be visiting us at that time. Which probably doesn’t apply to too many here but still. 😉

    Well worth it. :-)


    * Source : Page 17, “Shooting for the Stars” article by Clare Peddie in ‘The Advertiser’ newspaper, 25th July 2012.

  9. noen

    I absolutely love these!

  10. Michael

    I love these time-lapsed videos. This one is one of my favorites you’ve shared! Keep ’em coming!

  11. tallnginger

    How does the capture the Milky Way there at the end in the sunlight. It’s spectacular

  12. What exactly is the big humanoid statue in the water? Is that a famous sculpture? I can’t find any information about it.

  13. Brian

    Carl – the ‘humanoid’ statue is one of the 51 Gormley Sculptures on Lake Ballard in Western Australia. Here is some more information.

    This video here is the BEST use of them I’ve ever seen. Thanks Bad Astronomer!

  14. Brian

    tallnginger – the scene at the end isn’t sunlight, it’s a lunar eclipse

  15. Andrei

    I find it a bit deceiving – the fact that you need to resort to gimmicks and special effects in time lapses just to be able to impress someone tells me that we cannot really appreciate anymore the beauty of our world as is.
    Yes, it’s beautiful, yes, it’s an interesting effect to see the Milky Way when the Sun is up, but for me, this isn’t anymore a time lapse. This is special effects a la Hollywood.

  16. Colin Legg

    Andrei, sorry but you are wrong with your special effects talk. Every frame is exactly as the camera saw it, no special effects whatsoever. The Milky Way scene that you and others are referring was shot in moonlight…there are a couple of days in the lunar month when you can expose for both landscape and Milky Way.

    Thanks for watching and thanks everyone for the kind comments. And thanks Phil for posting the clip.

  17. carbonUnit

    Is that sunlight, or moonlight??

  18. Wow, I never knew a meteor train could last that long.

    Also, that sculpture doesn’t look very excited by the fantastic view 😉


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