I never get tired of time-lapse videos of the sky. Here’s a lovely one, taken in September by photographer Justin Majeczsky, showing the Milky Way rising over Lake Tahoe in the western US:
Cooool. Things like this make it a whole lot easier to grasp that we live inside the disk of a spiral galaxy. From our vantage point 25,000 light years or so out, you can see the central bulge of the galaxy moving across the sky. That’s the combined might of billions of stars and octillions of tons of gas and dust!
If you pause the video four or five seconds in and look to the upper left corner, you can see the stars making up the constellation of Sagittarius. They make a teapot shape! [You can check a map I recently posted of that area of the sky as well; the Teapot is just below and to the left of the Sun's labeled position on the map.] It looks like the Milky Way is steam coming from the spout, too, in one of my favorite and funniest coincidences in the sky.
High-end digital cameras are common enough now that high-resolution videos like this are relatively easy to make — even moderate cameras can do a great job getting sky shots. I think that’s fantastic, since it makes what is essentially naked-eye astronomy so much more accessible! You don’t need a fancy telescope or even binoculars to be amazed by the sky.
Tip o’ the lens cap to my pal Erin McCarthy.
Tom Lowe is an amazing photographer who makes devastating, astonishing timelapse videos of the night sky. Once again, he does not disappoint. Here’s your must-see video of the day: Rapture.
Make sure it’s set to HD, make it full screen, and turn your speakers up. I suggest letting the video buffer get well ahead, too, so it doesn’t skip.
Rapture is a paean to the American Southwest, one of my favorite regions on the planet. But the video’s loaded with gorgeous, sensuous astronomical skyscapes as well. Tom takes time exposures long enough to register faint night sky objects, but at the same time uses slow tracking to move the camera. The superposition of the ground and sky motion is simply mesmerizing. The music by Nigel "John" Stanford is incredibly compelling, too.
How many deep-sky objects can you identify in the video? The Andromeda Galaxy makes a brief appearance, and when the hub of the Milky Way slides across the sky, it’s awesome to behold.
Tom is the real thing. You should also check out his "Death Is the Road to Awe", a similar timelapse video.
Simply incredible. There is such beauty out there, and such gifted artists who can capture it and show it to us.
My thanks to Tom for giving me the heads-up on this. Follow him on Twitter for more information about his amazing work.