Tag: Brad Goldpaint

Time lapse: Within Two Worlds

By Phil Plait | July 19, 2012 10:04 am

I’ve been featuring some of photographer Brad Goldpaint’s mesmerizing sky shots lately, and I’m very pleased that he’s taken some of his amazing recent pictures and used them to create a stunning time lapse video: presenting Within Two Worlds, a glorious display of the magnificent skies over America’s western regions:

You might recognize some of the scenery; the pink and purple aurorae we’ve been getting lately from solar storms, shots from Crater Lake, and more. I also like the effect of the star trails; at one point (around 1:55) you can see a meteor zipping across the sky, it’s train lingering due to the way Brad processed the video.

We’ve had time lapse photography for decades, but the advent of digital cameras with good lenses and sensitive, well-crafted detectors has made it possible for more people to create these videos more easily. It’s like another dimension has opened in the sky, one of beauty and awe. Using an old method we can see the sky in a new way and more easily share it with those around us. And I’m all for that.


Related Posts:

- Shimmering purple aurora after a powerful solar storm
- Aurora, in the pink
- Meteor, crater
- Galactic arch over the conjunction

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Shimmering purple aurora after a powerful solar storm

By Phil Plait | July 17, 2012 9:58 am

While I was at Comic Con – these things always seem to happen when I can’t get to the blog! – the huge sunspot cluster AR 1520 let loose with a powerful X1.4 class flare [Note: I originally had this as an X4 flare]. This magnetic blast released a huge wave of subatomic particles which screamed across space and slammed into the Earth’s magnetic field on Sunday night. These particles were then fed down into our atmosphere at high speed where they pinged at electrons in nitrogen molecules in the upper atmosphere. The molecules responded by glowing at very specific blue and red wavelengths, which to our eyes makes pink and purple. The result: gorgeous, gorgeous aurorae… like those seen by photographer Brad Goldpaint over Sparks Lake, Oregon:

Oh, my. That’s simply breathtaking. [Click to recombinate.]

X-class storms can damage satellites and cause some mischief on Earth like radio blackouts and power outages. Even if they were truly huge, though, they don’t do anything to us directly on the surface; our air protects us. And it does more than that: it puts on the greatest show on – and above – the Earth.

In the Related Posts links below I have thorough (and hopefully easy-to-understand) explanations of aurorae, and why they glow in these amazing and soul-stirring colors. I highly recommend you read them. Aurorae are a feast for the eyes and the brain as well; when you understand what makes them tick, your appreciation of them unfolds in an entirely new dimension.

Image credit: Brad Goldpaint, used with permission.


Related Posts:

- The softly glowing night sky
- Aurora, in the pink
- Followup: More pink aurorae
- JAW DROPPING Space Station time lapse!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures, Science

Aurora, in the pink

By Phil Plait | June 18, 2012 6:30 am

’tis the season for solar storms, and I’m hearing reports that Active Region 1504 (the same sunspot featured in a dramatic video I posted recently) has been getting feisty, blowing out some flares and causing auroral activity here on Earth.

Photographer Brad Goldpaint was in the right place at the right time Saturday night to see some of this: he went to Crater Lake, Oregon, and at 3:30 a.m. local time on June 17th he took this surpassingly beautiful picture of a somewhat rare event: pink aurorae!

[Click to recombinate.]

Gorgeous! And weird. The colors you see in aurorae depend mostly on what’s in the air. Literally! A solar storm is an eruption of subatomic particles launched from the Sun at high speed. These interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, which, through a complicated process, sends those little beasties down into our air. They slam into the molecules and atoms in the upper atmosphere, blasting off electrons like bullets hitting concrete and sending out shrapnel.

When electrons recombine with the atoms and molecules, a little bit of energy is released in the form of light, and the color of that light depends on what’s doing the emitting. Oxygen atoms, for example, tend to glow green and/or red. Oxygen molecules (two atoms combined, like the kind we breathe) glow blue. Nitrogen molecules can glow either red or blue. Here’s a diagram from the excellent Atmospheric Optics website:

Read More

Meteor, Crater

By Phil Plait | April 25, 2012 9:12 am

Brad Goldpaint thinks he’s the luckiest guy on Earth. He says that because he’s a photographer, and he was thrilled that after waiting a long time to get a good shot at Crater Lake, Oregon, the weather cleared up just in time for annual Lyrid meteor shower.

It’s hard to argue, especially when he says he saw only one meteor the whole night… and it looked like this:

Nice! [Click to calderenate.]

Crater Lake is an ancient volcano of such surpassing beauty that it’s no exagerration to say that when I visited there years ago, it changed my outlook on life.

The Lyrids are a weak meteor shower occurring every year in April. The shower does sometimes produce bright fireballs like the one Brad captured above, but usually most of the meteors are relatively faint. By the way, that fireball you may have heard about over California a couple of days ago happened during the Lyrids, but that was almost certainly a coincidence; that exploding chunk of rock was the size of a car when it came in, while meteor shower meteoroids are usually smaller than a grain of sand.

Anyway, I disagree with Brad. He’s not lucky. By taking so many pictures, by persevering, by always being out there, eventually this wonderful happenstance was inevitable. He made his own luck; chance favors the well-prepared.

By not-a-big-coincidence, this image was also on APOD today! Check out the Related Posts just below for more of Brad’s astonishing sky photography.


Related Posts:

- Rekindled flame
- Galactic arch over the conjunction
- The skies reflect our spinning world
- Well, at least light pollution makes for a pretty time lapse

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Rekindled flame

By Phil Plait | March 27, 2012 2:33 pm

Brad Goldpaint is a professional photographer who takes devastating photos of the sky — like the amazing one of the Milky Way over the Venus/Jupiter conjunction — and he specializes in putting amazing foreground objects in his shots. I saw this particular picture on his Google+ page, and asked him if I could post it here. He said yes:

This photo, "Rekindled Flame", was shot on May 3, 2011 at Balanced Rock in Arches National Park. I asked Brad about the glow on the horizon, and he suspects it was a town’s light, but the nearest town in that direction was nearly 200 km away!

One thing I’ll note: the rock on the left — that kind of formation is called a "hoodoo", and I love that word — wasn’t being lit by the town’s light; Brad actually used a flashlight to very lightly illuminate it. I like this; if it had been just a shadow it wouldn’t have looked nearly s impressive as it does in this picture; the slightly lit nature gives it depth and, somehow, a sense of patience I rather like.

Anthropomorphization? Sure, why not. Scientists have imagination, too, y’know.

Image credit: Brad Goldpaint, used with permission.


Related Posts:

- Galactic arch over the conjunction
- The skies reflect our spinning world (a gorgeous time lapse video by Brad Goldpaint)
- Well, at least light pollution makes for a pretty time lapse

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Brad Goldpaint, hoodoo

Galactic arch over the conjunction

By Phil Plait | March 19, 2012 1:04 pm

I was going to stop posting pictures of last week’s conjunction of Venus and Jupiter (see Related Posts below for more), but then photographer Brad Goldpaint went and sent me this ridiculously incredible shot:

You absolutely must click to embiggen that; I had to shrink it to fit the blog here. Brad took this just a few days ago at Smith Rock State Park located in Terrebonne, Oregon. It’s actually a mosaic of nine separate photographs, stitched together to show the grand scene. Venus and Jupiter are obvious enough (Venus is the brighter of the two, above Jupiter) but, as usual in Brad’s pictures, the real scene-stealer is the Milky Way. Usually, the Milky Way is a stream across the sky, but in this mosaic appears curved (that happens when you try to map large straight objects that take up a lot of sky into a rectangular picture frame).

You might see some familiar things if you look closely: on the left is Orion, tilted a bit, and all the way to the left is bright Sirius. Just above the planets are the Pleiades, and the head of Taurus to the left of that. Just to the right of the top of the Milky Way is bright yellow Capella, and farther down to the right the W of Cassiopeia.

What else do you see?


Related Posts:

- Paradise, above and below (another stunning Venus/Jupiter pic)
- Pic of pairs of planets and people
- Jupiter and Venus still blaze in the west
- The skies reflect our spinning world (a gorgeous time lapse video by Brad Goldpaint)
- Well, at least light pollution makes for a pretty time lapse

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

The skies reflect our spinning world

By Phil Plait | October 11, 2011 9:57 am

We live on a spinning ball, rotating madly as it moves through space. Once every day the surface of our planet makes a circuit around the imaginary line connecting its poles… well, imaginary it may be, but the effects are quite real, especially when you take long exposures of the night sky. That’s what photographer Brad Goldpaint did, and created this lovely time lapse video he calls Breaking Point:

[If you go to the Vimeo page for the video you can watch it in HD, which you really need to do, as well as make it full screen.]

Amazing, isn’t it? The visual of the stars wheeling around the sky over our head invokes such a wonderful feeling, as if the whole Universe is spinning around us. But it can also be a little odd-looking too. For example, take a look at this picture Brad composed using some of the images he crafted into the video, which he has singled out and called Delineated:

[Click to siderealate.]

Strange, isn’t it? For one thing, it isn’t one long exposure, but instead composed of 60 short exposures added together. If you squint you might see streaks of light, but in reality those arcs are composed of individual dots, the images of stars frozen as they moved across the sky.

It’s also a bit odd due to the fuzzy glow at the bottom. That’s actually the smeared-out light from the Milky Way galaxy as it rose into the frame. Not being a point-like source of light like stars, it has a dreamier, fuzzier quality. Again, from the video, here’s a single exposure from that series:

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Well, at least light pollution makes for a pretty time lapse

By Phil Plait | October 6, 2011 11:28 am

Light pollution — wasted light that gets thrown up into the sky instead of down onto the ground where it’s actually useful — is the enemy of every sky watcher, from the professional astronomer to the some time star gazer. It overwhelms fainter objects, and in bad cases even the brightest stars, reducing the glory of the sky to a washed-out glow.

But, it pains me to admit, it can be pretty. Photographer Brad Goldpaint used it to his advantage to make this short, lovely time lapse video called "Wiser for the Time", showing orange-lit clouds racing past the sky above them:

[Make sure to watch this full screen in HD!]

Recognize those skies? Orion, Taurus, Capella, Polaris, the Milky Way… given the light pollution, I was surprised how well some of those fainter objects showed up (especially the Andromeda Galaxy in both sets!). I was thinking just yesterday, in fact, that it’s been a while since I’ve been to a seriously dark site and seen more stars than I could hope to count. Maybe it’s time to find some secluded spot in the Rockies and wait for sunset…


Related posts:

- Time lapse: The Wagging Pole – Night Watch
- 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

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »