Timelapse: Milky Way from the Dakotas

by Nancy Atkinson on June 7, 2011

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Plains Milky Way from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

Growing up in the Dakotas, I can attest to the dark skies that grace the northern plains. However, there is also cold weather (even in the spring) and — at times — almost unbelievably windy conditions. But that didn’t stop videographer Randy Halverson from shooting this magnificent timelapse video of the Milky Way. And in fact, his low shots enhance the beauty of the landscape and sky. “There were very few nights, when I could shoot, that were perfectly clear, and often the wind was blowing 25mph +,” Halverson said. “That made it hard to get the shots I wanted. I kept most of the shots low to the ground, so the wind wouldn’t catch the setup and cause camera shake, or blow it over.”

Ten seconds of the video is about 2 hours 20 minutes in real time. Randy tells us he has been doing astro timelapse for only about 16 months, but shooting other types of video since the mid 90′s. See more of his marvelous work at his Dakotalapse website.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Anonymous June 7, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Stunning, breathtaking photography. Seeing the Milky Way under really dark skies is unforgettable, just like seeing it for the very first time.

Anonymous June 7, 2011 at 4:42 PM

How much can you see that with your own eyes?
I have never had a chance to see it, only once a tiny glimps of something that might not be a cloud.

Randy Halverson June 8, 2011 at 1:36 PM

It is a 30 second exposure, so it won’t be that bright with your own eyes. More like a narrow white cloud.

Andrew Jaremko June 7, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Wonderful. Thank you Randy! There’s a bonus for me in this one – I love the windmill spinning and being translucent – then stopping dead at the 30 second mark. I’m following various energy blogs and it’s an example of the wind’s intermittency.

Gary Whitton June 7, 2011 at 10:47 PM

Olaf, if you are in the right place, and you stay out long enough for your eyes to adjust, what you will see will blow you away. It will give a sense of what has been lost because of light pollution. One of the best places to see the Milky Way is Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah.

Philip Havice June 8, 2011 at 1:44 PM

Would be great to have a Time ~ lapse of the Auroras too !

Federico Manzini June 8, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Wonderful, incredible; the sky directly on my head!! Thank you for your great work.

Julia Sutton June 8, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Oh, Mother-Father-Creator! I long for this face! My primal heart is deeply moved.
Kat – when you’re there, don’t forget to look up!

Julia Sutton June 8, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Oh, Mother-Father-Creator! I long for this face! My primal heart is deeply moved.
Kat – when you’re there, don’t forget to look up!

Susan Wilson June 14, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Randy, wow! found your site while at DMNS this am and shared with 175 childred most never had had chance to see this marvel overhead as they were inner city kids. Thank you for the wild-eyed amazement I got to share with them.

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