Watch SETI-Seeking Radio Dishes Dance Across the Universe

Radio dishes always evoke wonder, as these giants search for invisible (to our eyes, anyway) radio signals from objects like distant quasars, pulsars, masers and more, including potential signals from extraterrestrials. This new timelapse from Harun Mehmedinovic and Gavin Heffernan of Sunchaser Pictures was shot at several different radio astronomy facilities — the Very Large Array (VLA) Observatory in New Mexico, Owens Valley Observatory in Owens Valley California, and Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia. All three of these facilities have been or are still being partly used by the SETI (Search for the Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program.

Watch the dishes dance in their search across the Universe!

The huge meteorite streaking across the sky above Very Large Array (2:40) is from the Aquarids meteor shower. The large radio telescope at Green Bank is where scientists first attempted to “listen” to presence of extraterrestrials in the galaxy. The Very Large Array was featured in the movie CONTACT (1997) while Owens Observatory was featured in THE ARRIVAL (1996).

This video was created for SkyGlowProject.com, a crowdfunded educational project that explores the effects and dangers of urban light pollution in contrast with some of the most incredible Dark Sky Preserves in North America.

The music is by Tom Boddy, and titled “Thoughtful Reflections.”

Thanks to Gavin Heffernan for sharing this video.

Screenshot from the DishDance timelapse. Credit and copyright: Harun Mehmedinovic and Gavin Heffernan.
Screenshot from the DishDance timelapse. Credit and copyright: Harun Mehmedinovic and Gavin Heffernan.

SKYGLOW: DISHDANCE from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

See the Beauty of Earth and Space in Stunning New ISS Timelapse

Moonrises, sunsets, aurorae and of course, our beautiful planet Earth star in this latest timelapse compiled from imagery taken by astronauts on board the International Space Station. “Orbit 3” was put together by Phil Selmes using ISS footage captured during ISS Expeditions 42 and 43 between January through May 2015.

“I hadn’t planned on making another ISS time lapse video but I have been so awestruck by some of the recent footage I couldn’t help myself,” Selmes told Universe Today. “I think the point of difference for this video is that it not only draws on very recent footage but it includes many views not seen in other time lapse videos, for example some of the full screen “fisheye views” have not been featured too heavily nor have some of the shots looking through the ISS side viewing windows.”

This is the 4th video Phil has produced using ISS time lapse footage (see another here and a ‘Birdman-like tracking shot timelapse here). Phil says he still gets a lump in his throat every time he sees our “tiny little planet with its miracle cargo of life orbiting alone in the absolute vastness of space.”

We do too.

See more of Phil’s work on Facebook or G+.

Trail’s End: Beautiful New Night-Sky Timelapse by Randy Halverson

Stunning views of the Milky Way, shimmering aurora, spectacular thunderstorms, flashing meteors, zipping satellies, stirring music, and spooky sprites and gravity waves …. they are all part of this wonderful new timelapse by night-sky guru Randy Halverson.

“Trails End is a compilation of some of my favorite timelapse shots from 2014, with a few aurora shots from early this year,” Halverson told us. “It was shot in Wyoming, Utah and South Dakota.”

A few moments to note in the video:

:56 Bolide Meteor
1:01 Aurora at Devils Tower and throughout video
1:33 Two Bolide Meteors
Meteors With Persistent Trains 2:29 very fast and short persistent train to right of the Milky Way, a better one at 3:20
2:43 Final Boost Stage of GSSAP and ANGELS satellites
2:55 Owl sitting in tree
3:00 Pink Aurora in the sand dunes of Wyoming’s Red Desert
3:14 Sprites and Gravity Waves

See more images and details at Randy’s website, dakotalapse.

5 Stunning Timelapse Videos Show the World at Night in Motion

Award-winning photographer Babak Tafreshi from The World At Night (TWAN) has been traveling the world to captures nightscapes in various locations. He has shared five beautiful timelapse videos of night sky landscapes “from locations that never been filmed like this before,” he said.

The first video, “Lake of Fire at Night” shows the gorgeous view of the Milky Way above Lagoa do Fogo, a volcanic crater lake in the Sao Miguel island of Portugal, Azores, on the Atlantic Ocean.

Kilimanjaro at Night

Here, travel to Mount Kilimanjaro and view it under the starry skies of Amboseli. You’ll see the Magellanic Clouds and fast-passing satelites, along with African wildlife.



Stars Above Himalayas

See the stars above the roof of the world. Mt Everest and other Himalayan peaks in the World Heritage Sagarmatha National Park of Nepal appear in this nightscape timelapse clip.


Santorini by Night

Santorini, Greece is lovely by day. And at night, the island is filled with lights, limiting the night sky view. But here you can see rare views of the starry sky above the island during a major blackout.


Magic Telescopes

The MAGIC telescopes, located near the mountain top of the Roque de los Muchachos on the Canary island of La Palma, are part of a highly sensitive gamma ray observatory, with giant 17 meter wide dishes. The multi-mirrored telescope pair observes gamma rays indirectly by detecting brief flashes of optical light, called Cherenkov light. See them here with the beautiful night sky above and clouds below.

See more of Tafreshi’s videos on Vimeo and more photos and information at his website.

A Night-Sky Timelapse You Don’t Want to Miss

It’s an old story: a couple leave their jobs, sell everything, and live in motorhome to capture footage and imagery of the night sky.

Wait… what?

This unique story is exactly what Brad and Marci Goldpaint did. They left their jobs and traveled throughout the western US in an RV to begin educating the public about the damaging effects of light pollution. They wanted to help reconnect people with the simple beauty of the night sky and have been teaching photography workshops and gathering footage for a new timelapse called “Illusion of Lights: A Journey into the Unseen.”

With breathtaking scenes and soaring music, this video “introduces you to the concept of movement and time that visually explores our night skies,” says Brad on Vimeo.

We’ve featured images and timelapses from Brad before, and he shared how the sudden loss of his mother caused him to reassess his goals and priorities. Since 2009 he’s been working on outdoor photography and has now dedicated his work to sharing images of the night sky with others.

For this timelapse, Brad said he “spent countless nights traversing in the dark, carrying heavy camera equipment, and braving the dark unseen.” He dealt with lightning storms, dangerous winds, and up-close encounters with bears and other wildlife. Sometimes, after spending days hiking to a remote location and with optimistic weather reports, Mother Nature showed up and ruined his opportunity to get the shot.

A few highlights: at about 2:00 there is an exploding meteor with a persistent train that is stunning. You’ll also see strange lights on Mount Rainier. Brad explained these lights are from people climbing the mountian at night in hopes of reaching the summit by sunrise the following day. The white lights you see are from their headlamps. “Can you imagine climbing up a mountain in the middle of the night?” he asks?

Another still from "Illusions of Light." Credit and copyright: Brad Goldpaint Photography.
Another still from “Illusions of Light.” Credit and copyright: Brad Goldpaint Photography.

For more about this film see their website.

Illusion of Lights: A Journey into the Unseen from Goldpaint Photography on Vimeo.

Photo Shoot Captures Classified Spy Satellite Engine Burn

Remember at the end of “Star Trek: First Contact” when Lily looks up to see the Enterprise enter the temporal vortex with a flash of light? Astrophotographer Randy Halverson captured a view very similar to that scene, albeit without time travel or Vulcans standing nearby.

“On July 28th, 2014, I was set up to shoot the Milky Way near Kennebec, South Dakota,” Halverson wrote on his website. “I had looked through some of the stills but didn’t notice anything unusual. [But] in December 2014 I was editing timelapse and when I got to the July 28th sequence I noticed something different on it. At first I thought it was another meteor with persistent train, but I had missed the meteor in between exposures. I had already caught several meteor with persistent trains on timelapse last year, so I was watching for them. Then I looked closer and noticed the flash was dimming and getting brighter. Also, when I zoomed in I could see a satellite or object right before the first flash.”

Halverson did a quick search of launches during that time and found the Air Force had launched a semi-classified trio of satellites into orbit earlier in the evening of July 28th (23:28 UTC, 7:28 EDT) on a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and further research indicated he had captured the engine burn of one of the satellite’s final boost stage.

Just goes to show, you can never tell what you’ll see when you’re looking up!

See the timelapse below:

On board the Delta IV were two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) spacecraft and the Autonomous Nanosatellite Guardian for Evaluating Local Space (ANGELS) NanoSatellite. Halverson conferred with a few NASA mission analysts and they all agreed the flash was coming from the ANGELS boost stage firing.

“The first flash you see on the timelapse happened at 1:09am July 29th (camera time) so that also seems to match up with the timing for the final burn the article mentions,” Halverson said.

According to the Spaceflight101 website, the ANGELS nanosatellite is a project of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) and was a secondary payload on Delta IV launched on July 28, 2014. Its purpose was to do a technical demonstration flight several hundred kilometers above the belt of geosynchronous orbit (35,786 kilometers (22,236 miles). The satellite was supposed to “perform an autonomous rendezvous demonstration with the Delta IV upper stage before testing a camera system for the inspection of satellites in high orbits.”

Halverson said he used a Canon 5D Mark III with a Nikon 14-24 lens on an eMotimo TB3 mounted on a Dynamic Perception Stage Zero Dolly.

See more of Randy’s great timelapse and night sky photography work at his website dakotalapse, or Twitter.

Leave Home: Hypnotic Milky Way Timelapse from New Zealand

Photographer Manoj Kesavan has been working on this timelapse since mid-2013 and the results are stunning and spellbinding. ‘Leave Home’ was shot from many locations in Palmerston North, New Zealand in 2013 then continued in 2014 from Taupo and Auckland. Early in the timelapse you’ll see daytime views of the New Zealand landscape but midway, the night views kick in. Hang on while watching some of the spinning Milky Way shots, and the wave scenes might leave you hypnotized! All in all, this is a gorgeous look at the land, sea and skies of New Zealand.

The images were shot with Canon 20D, Canon 7D & 60D with various Canon & Sigma Lenses and batch processed with Lightroom 5. Motion control was achieved by Dynamic Perception stage one dolly & Emotimo TB3 Black.

See more of Kesavan’s work on Flickr and Facebook.

L E A V E H O M E – A NEW ZEALAND TIMELAPSE PROJECT from Manoj Kesavan on Vimeo.

Stunning Aurora Timelapse from Iceland, December 2014

As we get ready to wrap up the year and the month, here’s an absolutely beautiful compilation of views of the aurora — or norðurljós as they are called in Icelandic — from the month of December 2014 in Iceland.

“Even though the month is not over yet, the weather forecast does not allow any shooting the rest of the month,” said photographer Ólafur Haraldsson via email.

Haraldsson’s timelapse captures the quiet and magical beauty of the aurora and the majestic and varied landscapes of Iceland.

See more of Haraldsson’s wonderful work on his website — which includes some amazing 360 degree interactive panoramas — or on Twitter and Instagram.

Aurora December 2014 from Olafur Haraldsson on Vimeo.

Lovely New Timelapse: Chasing Starlight in the Canadian Rockies

Ready for an adventure? One of our favorite photographers, Jack Fusco, created this stunning travel video for Travel Alberta and viewing it might be enough to make you start packing your bags.

“There’s a certain feeling that you get from standing under a truly dark sky for the first time,” Jack wrote. “Although it’s hard describe the exact feeling of awe that’s felt, it’s an experience that doesn’t leave you. In fact, it’s something that can change you. It can make you forget about sleeping when the sun has set and instead readies you for an adventure. This timelapse is about capturing the adventure of chasing star filled skies and the feeling you get from experiencing it. I hope it inspires people to find their own adventure chasing the stars.”

See some of his beautiful still images from his photo-shoot below:

Chasing Starlight was shot using a Nikon D800E & a Nikon D810 equipped with Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 lenses. See more of Jack’s wonderful work at his website, Instagram, or Jack Fusco Photography.

Aurora over Peyto Lake in Alberta, Canada. Credit and copyright: Jack Fusco.
Aurora over Peyto Lake in Alberta, Canada. Credit and copyright: Jack Fusco.

Wow! Epic 4K Timelapse of Aurora Over Iceland and Greenland

Holy Northern Lights, Batman! This new timelapse is just beautiful! Photographer Joe Capra traveled to Greenland and Iceland to shoot 10 nights of the arctic Aurora. Not only was the aurora absolutely stunning, but the landscape is equally beautiful. Joe said that all the footage was shot in super high resolution 4K Ultra HD, and you can even see the bright aurora reflected in small rivers and streams.

Here are some of the locations Joe shot the footage: Greenland locations include the Kangerlussuaq, Ilulissat, Ilimanaq, Ilulissat Ice Fjord, Russell Glacier, Greenland Icecap, and Disko Bay. Iceland locations include the South Coast, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell, and Grundarfjörður.

Check out more of Joe’s work at his website Scientifantastic.

Two Lands – Greenland | Iceland from SCIENTIFANTASTIC on Vimeo.