Timelapse: Anticrepuscular Rays at Monument Valley

Anti-crepuscular rays on the east horizon in Minnesota on June 9, 2012. Credit: Nancy Atkinson.

Astrophotograher César Cantú from Mexico is visiting Utah and captured an incredible timelapse of the view at sunset along with the formation of anti-crepuscular rays — a spectacular optical phenomena where light rays scattered by dust and haze appear on the horizon opposite to the setting Sun.

The word crepuscular means “relating to twilight,” and these rays occur when objects such as hills or clouds partially shadow the Sun’s rays, usually when the Sun is low on the horizon. These rays are visible only when the atmosphere contains enough haze or dust particles and in just the right conditions, sunlight is scattered toward the observer.

Then occasionally, light rays scattered by dust and haze sometimes appear on “antisolar” point, (the horizon opposite to the setting Sun). These rays, called anti-crepuscular rays, originate at the Sun, cross over the sky to the opposite horizon, and appear to converge toward the antisolar point.

For both crepuscular and anti-crepsucular, the light rays are actually parallel, but appear to converge to the horizon due to “perspective,” the same visual effect that makes parallel railroad tracks appear to converge in the distance.

Above is an image I took a few years ago when I captured both crepuscular and anti-crepuscular rays at the same time. You can read about that here.

Here’s a a great night sky shot of Monument Valley from César:

Monument Valley in Utah under the starry night sky on May 27, 2014. Credit and copyright: César Cantú.
Monument Valley in Utah under the starry night sky on May 27, 2014. Credit and copyright: César Cantú.

See more of his images here.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

Stunning Timelapse: Stargazing in the Canadian Rockies

The night sky over Pyramid Lake in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada. Credit and copyright: Jack Fusco.

One of our favorite photographers, Jack Fusco, recently visited Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, one of the worlds largest dark sky preserves. He went there on behalf of Travel Alberta, during the annual Night Sky Festival. “I was lucky enough to have two clear nights to explore and shoot as many photos as possible to create a short timelapse while there,” Jack told us via email. “In the end, I took over 2,000 photos at locations such as Lake Annette, Athabasca Glacier, Pyramid Lake, and many others. Out of all the places I’ve traveled in search for dark skies, Jasper definitely offered some of the best views I’ve ever seen. The sky in the Columbia Icefield area was unlike any I had witnessed before.”

Jack added that it was great to be around so many people that were excited about astronomy and preserving the night sky, and he’s already looking forward to going again in 2014, and astronaut Chris Hadfield is already lined up as a guest.

If you’re rushing about for the holidays, take a few minutes to enjoy a brief respite with this lovely timelapse. You can see more images and videos at Jack’s website.

Timelapse: Watch the MAVEN Spacecraft Being Built Before Your Eyes

Artist depiction of the MAVEN spacecraft. Credit: NASA

Watch a year of incredibly detailed work in building the MAVEN spacecraft — sped up to take just 10 minutes. It’s the dance known as ATLO: Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations, set to a jazzy beat. The next spacecraft to Mars, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN or MAVEN began ATLO procedures a year ago on Sept. 11, 2012. It was shipped to Kennedy Space Center’s Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility on Aug. 2, 2013 to begin preparations for its scheduled launch on Nov. 18, 2013.

Find out more about MAVEN in one of our previous articles about preparations for the mission, or at NASA’s MAVEN website.

Two Beautiful Timelapse Videos of the 2013 Perseid Meteor Shower

Composite image of the Perseid Meteor Shower radiant, from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter in Arizona. Credit and copyright: Adam Block.

We’re still swooning over the great images and videos coming in from this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower. Here are a couple of timelapse videos just in today: the first is from P-M Hedén showing 25 Perseid meteors, but you can also see Noctilucent clouds, a faint Aurora Borealis, airglow, satellites passing over and lightning. “It was a magic night!,” P-M said.

See another view from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter in Arizona, below:

This timelapse was created by Adam Block and shows a few hours of the experience guests at the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter had on August 11/12, 2013 during the Perseids: they could look through the 0.8m Schulman telescope and enjoy being outside to see the meteors streaking overhead. Flashlights and other sources illuminate the ground and the observatory. Find out more about the observatory here.

Whimsical and Beautiful New Timelapse: Borrego Stardance

A still from the new timelapse, 'Borrego Stardance' by Gavin Heffernan/Sunchaser Pictures.

Just outside of Borrego Springs, California, monsters lurk. Life-size metal statues of dinosaurs, dragons, and wooly mammoths stand among giant insects, birds and several other creatures. But the 600,000 acre Anzo-Borrego State Park is also an astronomer’s dream, since it is one of four communities in the world to be classified a “Dark Sky Community” by the International Dark Sky Association.

Timelapse maven Gavin Heffernan from Sunchaser Pictures has now combined these monsters and the beautiful dark sky for his latest astronomical timelapse video, Borrego Stardance. It’s an unusual and fanciful look at the night sky –- where else can you see dragons and star trails at the same time? Watch below — and crank the volume for added effect!

“Despite the grueling 112 degree temperatures, my team and I had an amazing shoot, with some of the clearest Milky Way footage we’ve ever captured” Gavin wrote Universe Today via email, “as well as some exciting creature-filled star trails, and more experiments with “Starscaping” (switching from stars to trails mid-shot).”

It’s a beautiful addition to Gavin’s already impressive timelapse and video collection. You can see a behind-the-scenes video of the Borrego site here.

You can find more information on the statues at the Galleta Meadows website.

BORREGO STARDANCE from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

Beautiful Timelapse — and an Invitation to Try Capturing the Night Sky from a City

Screenshot of the Moon rising over Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: Bruno Letarte.

Can you get good astrophotography shots from within a city? Astrophotographer Bruno Letarte has proved you can capture stunning shots of both city and night sky and turn them into a beautiful timelapse. Last fall we featured a timelapse by Bruno taken at the dark sky site of the South African Large Telescope (SALT), but he said his latest project of shooting among the city lights was a “real learning experience.”

“It was a completely different challenge, much trickier than shooting a perfect dark sky, where you find your optimal exposure time and stick to it for everything,” Bruno told Universe Today via email. “Different objects and different focal lengths, lights in the foreground, moving cars, etc. Many sequences had to be decided on the spot with no time to really think it through.”

He captured various objects (Moon, Sun, planets, comets) either rising or setting against a nice city landscape — with light pollution and all – and all taken with an entry level enthusiast camera.

“It was a real learning experience for me to shoot in these various conditions. It’s also an invitation to the general public to look up in their night sky to see what’s up there, even in a city,” Bruno added. “And for the amateur photographer out there, I’ve included the tech details and comments for each sequences with a few seconds of flashing text.”

Timelapse: Dark Nights of St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Screencap from 'Dark Nights II' by Graham Gaunt.

Photographer Graham Gaunt recently spent a week on the beautiful island of St. Agnes, Isle of Scilly during an unusual stretch of clear weather. “I spent every night awake dragging my gear out at dusk and returning to sleep at dawn,” Graham wrote on Vimeo. “No matter how much I thought I had planned out each shot the unraveling of the nights events always brought new and different surprises.”

Thanks to Graham for capturing and sharing his wonderful night views and experiences!

Music by Kevin MacLeod.

Dark Nights II from Graham Gaunt on Vimeo.

“Horizons” — Gorgeous New Views from Dakotalapse

Three-image panorama of the Milky Way arching of the Badlands of South Dakota. Credit and copyright: Randy Halverson/Dakotalapse

We’ve oohed and ahhed many times over the handiwork of Randy Halverson and his Dakotalapse timelapse videos and imagery of the night sky. He may have outdone himself with his latest timelapse, called “Horizons.” Randy shot the footage from April – October 2012, mostly in South Dakota, but also some at Devils Tower in Wyoming.

“Growing up in South Dakota the landscape itself can be beautiful at times,” Randy says, “but that doesn’t compare to what the sky can do, especially at night.” Not only is the imagery absolutely breathtaking, but the accompanying music is an original called “I Forever” by Bear McCreary (The Walking Dead, Defiance, Battlestar Galactica, etc) his brother Brendan McCreary and his band Young Beautiful in a Hurry.

There’s a four-minute version below, but also available on Vimeo On Demand is a full 30-minute feature . Enjoy!!

The lead image and this one below are recent images from Randy that he has posted on Flickr.

Mirrored Aurora - Aurora mirrors off a small lake in central South Dakota on June 6, 2013. Credit and copyright: Randy Halverson/Dakotalapse.
Mirrored Aurora – Aurora mirrors off a small lake in central South Dakota on June 6, 2013. Credit and copyright: Randy Halverson/Dakotalapse.

Horizons from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

Timelapse Video Captures a Year of Incredible Night Sky Views

'North Country Dreamland' -a northern Michigan dark sky exposition. Credit: Shawn Malone.

This beautiful new timelapse video might have folks heading in droves for northern Michigan. Shawn Malone of Lake Superior Photo put together this incredible video — her first attempt at a timelapse compilation, believe it or not — using over 10,000 photo frames showing 33 different scenes of various night sky events from northern Michigan over the past year. “It took a year to shoot and a bit of tenacity and persistence to get this into a form of coherent electrified cosmic goodness,” Malone wrote on Vimeo. And did she ever capture cosmic goodness: auroras, the Milky Way rising and setting, meteor showers, a comet, and even aurora and lightning together in one scene. Just gorgeous….

North Country Dreamland from LakeSuperiorPhoto on Vimeo.

Another Incredible Timelapse from the ISS

'The full moon rises over the only planet we have ever called home,' Tweeted astronaut Chris Hadfield.

We never get tired of these amazing views from the International Space Station, but this one has it all: a silvery Moon setting into the Earth’s atmosphere, the dazzling Milky Way rising into a brilliant sunrise, airglow of all colors, popping lightning, shimmering aurorae, and incredible views of the stunning space station and our gorgeous planet. Brian Tomlinson put this one together, using stills from the Johnson Space Center’s “Gateway to Astronaut Photography of the Earth.

Below is a recent image taken by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield showing the Moon hovering above Earth, as seen from the ISS, similar to the views in the opening of the video: