Moonlight Skating: Scenes from Winter in Sweden

Moonlight skating in Sweden. Credit and copyright: Göran Strand.

“Nights like these are almost to good to be true,” says astrophotographer Göran Strand.

Glide along with Strand and two friends who went ice skating recently on a frozen lake near Östersund, Sweden. “This night was really magic, no wind, lots of ice crystals in the air and an almost full Moon that shined upon us during our two hours out on the ice,” Stand said. “To the right of the Moon you can see the constellation of Orion and down left of the Moon you can see planet Jupiter shining brightly.”

Hot chocolate anyone?

See more of Göran’s astrophotography from Sweden on his Facebook page or in his Twitter stream.

Timelapse: Watch Noctilucent Clouds Cover the Entire Sky

Noctilucent clouds over Sweden on July 27, 2014. Credit and copyright: Göran Strand

This year, the noctilucent cloud season has been especially eventful, and this new timelapse from Swedish astrophotographer Göran Strand shows these “night-shining” clouds covering the entire sky over the course of 2 hours.

“On the 27th of July 2014 I saw some of the most beautiful Noctilucent Clouds I’ve ever seen,” Göran said via email. “They emerged shortly after sunset and after a while they covered the entire sky.”

In the movie you can see an all-sky timelapse view that shows how these clouds changed during the evening.

See some gorgeous still photos from that night, below:

Noctilucent clouds are wispy, glowing tendrils of high-altitude ice crystals that shine long after the Sun has set. They appear in upper latitudes only and form about 83 km (51 miles) up in the atmosphere. The icy clouds are illuminated by the Sun when it is just below the horizon, giving the clouds their “night-shining” properties.

Also called polar mesospheric clouds, these are the highest cloud formations in the atmosphere. They’ve been associated with rocket launches and space shuttle re-entries, and another theory is that they might also be associated with meteor activity.

Noctilucent clouds over Sweden on July 27, 2014. Credit and copyright: Göran Strand.
Noctilucent clouds over Sweden on July 27, 2014. Credit and copyright: Göran Strand.

See more of Goran’s work at his website, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.


Jaw-Dropping Sunset Timelapse from Sweden

The setting Sun as it passed over the church of a small village called Ås. You can clearly see two sunspots visible on the Sun (#2079 and #2077), both about the size of one Earth diameter. Credit and copyright: Göran Strand.

This is not your basic sunset timelapse! It combines a close-up view of the Sun with a solar telescope along with the landscape in the foreground. Astrophotographer Göran Strand from Sweden has been planning this photoshoot for a year, and it turned out spectacularly.

“Yesterday I went out to shoot a sunset I’ve planed since last summer,” Göran said via email. “This time of the year, the Sun passes right behind a big radar tower if you stand at the Swedish National Biathlon Arena in Östersund. The radar tower is located about 8 km away from the arena in a small village called Ås. I shoot the movie using my solar telescope to capture the structures on the Sun. The timing was perfect and the Sun looked really nice since it was full of sunspots and big filaments.”

Note the size of the Earth inserted for reference.

Below is a beautiful image taken a few days earlier by Göran of the setting Sun:

See more of Göran’s work at his website, Facebook, or Twitter.

Pink Floyd and Coldplay Go to Space

An allsky photo of the aurora in February, 2014 as seen from Östersund, Sweden. Credit and copyright: Göran Strand.

Two great music videos published this week feature incredible imagery from space. Above, Pink Floyd released an 20th anniversary video version of their instrumental “Marooned” which uses timelapse video photography taken by astronauts on the International Space Station (which we’ve featured many times, like here and here). For you Pink Floyd-aphiles, the anniversary edition of ‘The Division Bell‘ will be released on June 30th — including a double vinyl edition!

Below, a new video from Coldplay and their song “Sky Full of Stars” uses aurora imagery taken by Swedish astrophotopher Göran Strand, whose work we post frequently:

This version of a “A Sky Full of Stars” was used in the NBC special Coldplay: Ghost Stories. Göran recorded the aurora over Östersund on March 17, 2013. He photographed the aurora for 4 hours and then put all the images together to a movie showing the development of the aurora across the entire sky. See his original aurora video below.