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Astrophoto Heaven: Video Time-Lapse Shows Spectacular Sky Above Desert National Park

Channelling all U2 fans: this stunning timelapse above Joshua Tree National Park is a walking tourism brochure for astrophotographers. The pictures were taken in September and November 2012 (the latter during the Leonid meteor shower) and just put up on Vimeo a few days ago.

Can you spot any famous astronomical objects? Read below to see some of what was featured in these video clips.

“Due to the lateness in the year I was there, the Milky Way was setting into the light dome of Palm Springs and greater Los Angeles. Consequently, I only got one decent Milky Way sequence in the nights I shot,” wrote videographer Mark ‘Indy’ Kochte on Vimeo.

“At the time I was not traveling with a dolly rail set up, so was limited in the camera movements to using an Astrotrac astrophotography guiding system. However, the Astrotrac would only pan for about 90 minutes before reaching the end of it’s workable motion. Hence why there are a number of  ‘still’, tripod-only sequences.”

Kochte’s page on the project also gives a guide to the astronomical objects and phenomena you will see, including Venus, Jupiter and the zodiacal light — which is caused by sunlight reflecting off dust particles in space (from comets and asteroids).

Screenshot from the video "Joshua Tree Nights", taken at Joshua Tree National Park. Credit: Mark 'Indy' Kochte / Vimeo

Screenshot from the video “Joshua Tree Nights”, taken at Joshua Tree National Park. Credit: Mark ‘Indy’ Kochte / Vimeo

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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