Tag: Canary Islands

Time lapse: Close to the Heavens

By Phil Plait | October 29, 2012 12:15 pm

[Personal note: With a hurricane bearing down on the US, I dithered over posting this now… but maybe some of you good folks could use more Moments of Calm.]

Astronomy PhD student Péter Pápics sent me a note about a time lapse video he made at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma in the Canary Islands. I’ve been to this observatory, attending a meeting there many years ago. It’s a place of incredible beauty, so I was eager to see his video, and when I watched it I was thrilled to see it was even better than I hoped. Here is Mercator: Close to the Heavens. Make sure you set it to hi-def and full screen.

Many time lapse videos now use a small motor-driven rig to move the camera very slowly as it takes the pictures, but that limits how long a sequence you can shoot. Péter made two choices here: to use a steady tripod which allows longer shots, and to pick a frame rate that accentuates the magnificent grace of the motion depicted. The clouds flow like oceans, and the stars move serenely. His choice of Moonlight Sonata works well here, especially since the sequences are shown in time order, with the setting Sun leading to a night of observations at this important and heavily-used astronomical site.

I’ll have to bookmark this video; when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed with the need to save the world, this will help me remember what it is we’re trying to save.


Related Posts:

While the Sun Was Sleeping
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Emerald Isle time lapse

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Desktop Project Part 4: Underwater volcano in teal

By Phil Plait | March 29, 2012 7:00 am

[Over the past few weeks, I’ve collected a metric ton of cool pictures to post, but somehow have never gotten around to actually posting them. Sometimes I was too busy, sometimes too lazy, sometimes they just fell by the wayside… but I decided my computer’s desktop was getting cluttered, and I’ll never clean it up without some sort of incentive. I’ve therefore made a pact with myself to post one of the pictures with an abbreviated description every day until they’re gone, thus cleaning up my desktop, showing you neat and/or beautiful pictures, and making me feel better about my work habits. Enjoy.]

I love pictures of volcanoes taken from Earth-observing satellites. I’ve posted lots of ‘em, but I don’t think I’ve seen one quite like this:

That is an underwater volcano that’s been erupting since October of 2011. This picture, taken by the Earth Observing-1 satellite on February 10, 2012, shows the result. The teal water is sea water mixed with volcanic material swept around by the current. This volcano is located just offshore of El Hierro, the southwestern most of the volcanic Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco.

In case you were thinking those colors aren’t real, then take a look at this footage shot from a helicopter circling the volcano.

Yeah, those colors are real. Wow.

As you might expect, the volcano is growing. The peak is 210 meters (690 feet) above the sea floor, but only about 120 meters (390 feet) below the ocean surface. In one month it rose 10 meters! If it keeps erupting like this, then it won’t be too much longer before maps of the Canary Islands will have to be appended…

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Incredibly, impossibly beautiful time lapse video

By Phil Plait | May 4, 2011 10:57 am

I’ve been posting a lot of time lapse videos lately, and they’re so amazing I keep thinking they can’t possibly get any more beautiful.

I keep thinking wrong.

"El Cielo de Canarias" (Canary Sky) is simply, unbelievably breathtaking.

Wow. I mean, wow. Daniel López is a gifted photographer. While looking at his photographs, my jaw literally dropped. They are that extraordinary.

Many years ago I visited La Palma, one of the Canary Islands, for a meeting. In the distance we could sometimes see the very top of Mt. Teide, seen in this video, poking over the clouds. It was so unearthly and captivating, and López has captured that feeling here. This video has everything! The fluid motion of the clouds, a double rainbow (yes, yes, I know), a corona around the Sun (not the Sun’s atmosphere, but a lovely optical effect from water droplets in the clouds), standing-wave lenticular clouds, even a Green Flash! Watch the stars as they wheel across the view; can you spot the Pleiades, the Andromeda Galaxy?

As many of these videos as I have seen, I’m still looking forward to more from Sr. López. This one is absolutely stunning.

Tip o’ the lens cap to Felipe Gallego.


Related posts:

Time lapse: Orion
Australian Outback time lapse
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
Sidereal Motion
Amazing wide-angle time lapse night sky video
AWESOME timelapse video: Rapture

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
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