Three years in the making, this amazing time lapse video of the night sky is by Jeffrey Sullivan, and is really, really beautiful. It’s called While the Sun Was Sleeping. Make sure you set it to HD and make it full screen.
The song (which I really like) is called "While You Were Sleeping" by Life Audience.
If some of the footage seems familiar, it may be because I’ve featured some of it on this blog before, like the Perseid meteor shower, and the setting lunar eclipse behind the tower (which is frakkin’ incredible).
It’s videos like this why I follow so many photographers and astrophotographers on Google+. It’s a haven for amazing imagery.
Related Posts featuring Jeffrey’s work:
I’ve been following photographer Jeffrey Sullivan on Google+ for a while now — it’s a great place to see the work of talented people, and that’s where I found his lunar eclipse sequence I posted here last year.
Jeff is really good, and gets amazing shots of the sky. But today he posted the best shot I’ve seen from him: this jaw-dropping composite photo of a cumulonimbus cloud spawning lightning below and with star trails above:
He shot this during spring 2012 near the California/Nevada border. The mountain getting electrocuted is Bald Mountain, which is southeast of Lake Tahoe. This is actually a combination of a sequence of pictures that were part of a time lapse video he was shooting, which is how he got the star trails as well. In fact, if you’ve scraped your jaw off the floor by now, time to let it freefall once again while you watch the video:
You can see why he was the Royal Museums of Greenwich Astronomy Photographer of the Year in 2011 for the People and Space category. He tells me he’s working on a book on how to shoot landscape photography in California, and that’ll be out around the end of the year. I’m looking forward to seeing that!
I missed the lunar eclipse on Saturday morning, but a whole bunch of people got up to see it (click that link and scroll down to the comments; lots of folks link to their pictures). That includes photographer Jeffrey Sullivan, who took a sequence of pictures of the Moon from San Francisco, and put together this extremely cool time lapse animation covering ten minutes of the eclipse:
How amazing is that? It’s no coincidence he got the Moon to pass right behind the narrow pyramid of the Transamerica Building like that. According to the description on the YouTube page, he used some software to find the position of the Moon at various times, including the altitude (its distance above the horizon). Knowing the height of the building, he could then figure out how far away he had to be for the top of the building to be at that same altitude (it’s just a bit of trig). Then it was just a matter of finding a good spot using Google Earth — of course, accuracy is an issue. If the Moon was only 20 degrees off the horizon, then, given the 260 meter height of the building he had to be within about 10 meters of the right spot (about 715 meters from the building) or the Moon would miss. The lower the Moon, the less accurate he needed to be. Still. Nicely done.
When I was younger, dragging my telescope to the end of my driveway to observe the sky, I used to do calculations like that, and it would take forever. I had to look stuff up in tables, interpolate between entries, do all kinds of math — only to find out that somewhere along the line I dropped a 2 someplace and messed it all up. I would’ve cheerfully killed for access to the kind of software we have today.
It’s easy to be jaded with the privilege we have now. Animations like this one from Jeffrey drive home how amazing our tools have become.