Emerald Isle time lapse

By Phil Plait | September 18, 2012 10:53 am

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a beautiful time lapse video, so here’s one that should do the trick: "Between the Raindrops", by Peter Cox. It shows some inclement weather in Ireland, but ends with a lovely astronomical sight: a lunar eclipse setting over some hills. Make sure to set it to be full screen!

I guess this means Ireland is on my list of Places I Must See now, too. That list is getting mighty long.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Ireland, time lapse

Comments (16)

  1. sorrykb

    >It shows some inclement weather in Ireland
    Or, as the locals call it, “normal”. (Although “changeable” is an acceptable substitute.)

    And yes, add Ireland to your list of places to see. If you have time and enjoy hiking, see it on foot by walking one of the waymarked ways. There’s no better way to get a feel for the country.
    And now I want to go back.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Phil. As it happens, I have something a bit more astronomy-related which just went up yesterday:


  3. To Phil:
    If you do visit Ireland – the Republic, that is – then you absolutely MUST visit Birr Castle, with the renovated Leviathan of Parsonstown.

  4. Doug

    Both Ireland and the Scottish Highlands should not be missed it you have to choose. A few years ago I went on a tour of both and ended up in a hospital in Cork and having emergency surgery (a Long and very funny story since I lived!). Trying to catch up with our tour was a challenge of wanting to see the amazing landscape and trying to find the only people that knew we existed in that lovely country. The cliffs of Moher and the whole western coast are amazing.

  5. reidh

    Put it at the top

  6. VinceRN

    A lot of that looks like a lot of Western Washington. Still, Ireland is high up on my list, and now Birr Castle is part of it (Thanks Neil Haggarth, looks very cool). How is it possible that Ireland was not on our host’s list from the start. Seems odd.

    A 6 ft mirror in the 1840s? I’d guess that means it was ground by hand? I’ve occasionally contemplated trying a 10″ or 12″, but that is a lot of work and I always chicken out. 6 feet, and getting the shape right without things like lasers and computers and such? Wow.

  7. AndrewL

    Phil,by all means come over, perhaps while you’re here you could maybe even give a lecture to Astronomy Ireland – the largest astronomy society in the world (per head of national population)! There are other astronomy related places to visit as well, see http://www.astronomy.ie/visitireland.php

  8. Awesome!!! And gorgeous. I love weather like that. Sunshine is boring ūüėõ

    Just curious, has anyone here seen the film Samsara? It’s hard to describe (perhaps “‘word-free’ documentary of life on Earth”?), but about one third of it is composed of stunning time lapses like this one. It’s easily the most beautiful movie I’ve ever seen. It was shot on 70 mm film too, so you really have to see it in theaters to get the full amazing effect.

  9. #4 VinceRN:
    No, the mirror wasn’t ground by hand; the Earl used a grinding machine of his own invention.
    He actually had two 72-inch mirrors! Speculum metal, which mirrors were made of in those days, tarnished quickly, especially in a damp climate like that of Ireland, and had to be frequently repolished. So the Earl made two mirrors, which were used in rotation, with one always in the telescope while the other was being repolished.
    ( In fact, he cast three mirror blanks; the first cracked during cooling, so he had to start over again. )
    The Leviathan cost GBP10000 in 1840’s money, equivalent to around GBP1 million today; in fact, the restoration work in the 1990’s did cost about the latter.
    Before building the Leviathan, the Earl used a 36-inch telescope, which was mounted on a rotating gantry structure similar to that of William Herschel’s 48-inch – but it was destroyed in a gale. Scaling up that kind of structure to twice the size would have been near-impossible with the technology of the time, and the Earl had the sense not to even try – hence the mounting of the Leviathan, which sacrificed sky coverage for robustness.
    If you ever go to Ireland, Birr Castle is well worth a visit; I went there last year. It’s difficult to get to by public transport, but easy if you hire a car – a 90-min drive from Dublin. ( Note – like the UK, they drive on the left! )

  10. #4 VinceRN:
    The Leviathan was the biggest telescope in the world in its day – and built by an amateur!!!
    It wasn’t surpassed until the 100-inch Hooker Reflector was built at Mt. Wilson in 1917 – long after the Leviathan had fallen into disuse.

  11. Diederick

    Can’t believe there’s a country that gorgeous so close to mine.

  12. KimS

    Well, if it weren’t for the inclement weather I suppose it’d be the the ‘Brown and Slightly Crispy Isle’, so we can’t complain too much.

    Actually, I love that sort of weather. Which is helpful, given that I’m English (with family based in Scotland) and our weather isn’t too dissimilar.

  13. drow

    yes, visit Ireland. actually, now would be good. i’ve only been there once, travelling around dublin and northern ireland, need to go back and see the other side.

  14. KC

    “I guess this means Ireland is on my list of Places I Must See now, too”

    Aye, that you do. Don’t forget to visit Birr Castle, Newgrange, Armagh Planetarium & Observatory..and Giant’s Causeway!

  15. charmedquark

    Neil, thank you for the great history on the Leviathan.

    I had the good fortune of visiting Ireland last week. I did get a chance to see this magnificent old telescope. During our tour with Lord Rosse, we got to tour Birr Castle and a visitor center which has a large display on the history of the Leviathan, including photos and old paintings.
    It was wonderful to see this family’s numerous contributions to science and photography

    Phil, this is a definite must see.

  16. charmedquark

    Lord Rosse, as we were advised to call him, is William Brendan Parsons, the 7th Earl of Rosse. Lord Rosse was very passionatte about science and seemed genuinely excited to discuss the Leviathan and his family history. He personally is quite the otanist and has enhanced the grounds of Birr Castle with some incredible trees and plants. Birr Castle has the world’s oldest and tallest boxwood hedges.

    Lord Rosse lamented that no one in the current generation of his family has pursued a career in science.

    I visited Birr Castle with a wonderful group from the Toledo Museum of Art. Lord & Lady Rosse were amazingly gracious, knowledgeable and charming. Lord Rosse was happy to discuss some astronomy and was intrigued to learn that the “father of the space telescope”, Lyman Strong Spitzer, was from Toledo, Ohio.
    (a good book on this topic is “The Universe in a Mirror”. )

    Birr Castle, and meeting Lord & Lady Rosse was a most memorable experience.


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