Swimming Under A River Of Stars
June 3, 2011 10:40 AM   Subscribe

An awe-inspiring time-lapse sequence of the Milky Way rising and falling above the plains of South Dakota. (Place Vimeo in full-screen mode before you play. You’ll thank me later. Much more, including technical info, at the photographer’s website.)

The Very Large Telescope Array in Chile, previously mentioned, is also the subject of a new film that documents the most remarkable contrast between science and politics, wonderment and hate.

Related and previously: timelapse astrophotography from El Tiede, Lake Tahoe, the Canary Islands, and Fort Davis.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (32 comments total) 60 users marked this as a favorite

 
How can anyone watch that video and not feel so very, very small compared to everything?
Thanks for the post!
posted by jillithd at 10:52 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Play that video only with this music-track.
posted by Fizz at 11:02 AM on June 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


To ourselves, we are everything. To the universe, we are nothing.

Astronomy made me an atheist. True story.
posted by Decani at 11:02 AM on June 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


I am guessing that there may be a bunch of photoshopping and clean up - but it is still fucking stunning. If the video does not fill with you wonder and awe at the magic of the world and universe around us - I am not sure what will.

Great post.
posted by helmutdog at 11:02 AM on June 3, 2011


How can anyone watch that video and not feel so very, very small compared to everything?

After watching this video I've never felt more like we were all living on a tiny little rock hurling through the universe.
posted by sambosambo at 11:03 AM on June 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Beautiful. Hate to break it to you, but the Milky Way ain't rising and falling.
What's that streak at 2:50? Space station?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:03 AM on June 3, 2011


Every once in a while I see a video or read or hear something that completely hijacks my thought process and my brain momentarily plays out a sped-up version of that Powers of Ten movie. And when it zooms out to the maximum possible level, the whole thing starts going backwards in time, until there is just a dot. And in a moment, because my brain can't imagine something without a beginning, even that dot is gone.

And then I have to mentally pinch myself to remind myself that yes, I exist and the world exists, despite how counter-intuitive that may seem.

And I think about just how unlikely it is for me to be what I am, at this particular point in time and space. And how amazing it is that I am able to comprehend this.

And just how incredibly sad it is that I will never be able to see or hear or touch the stars.
posted by dmit at 11:12 AM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I will never be able to see or hear or touch the stars.

Well, you can hear them, at least.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:15 AM on June 3, 2011


Whoa that made me motion sick! But stunning, thanks.
posted by Namlit at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2011


Woah, perfectly executed.
posted by nutate at 11:17 AM on June 3, 2011


lovely video. thanks for that.

How can anyone watch that video and not feel so very, very small compared to everything?

whenever i look at the stars i always feel like i'm somehow exactly the right size and somehow exactly in the right place.
posted by jammy at 11:18 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's that streak at 2:50?

Airplane.
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:27 AM on June 3, 2011


Holy fuck, that was awesome. Thanks.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:31 AM on June 3, 2011


That's it, I'm moving to South Dakota!
posted by dust of the stars at 11:34 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


universe works best in fast motion
posted by philip-random at 11:38 AM on June 3, 2011


What's that streak at 2:50?

Iron Man
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:53 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also on The Astronomy Picture of the Day: APOD: 2011 June 1
posted by RobHoi at 11:55 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's astonishing to me how the night sky is simply gone for anyone living in a first world city.
posted by Nelson at 12:53 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Tat tvam asi: it does give a sense of perspective all right. Total Perspective Vortex, indeed.
posted by stonepharisee at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's that streak at 2:50?
Airplane.


Surely, you can't be serious.
posted by xedrik at 1:33 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Surely, you can't be serious.
What else could it be? It even makes a slight left turn toward the end, it seems.

(Yeah. Hagrid on a motorcycle)
posted by Namlit at 2:14 PM on June 3, 2011


May I be the third to mention that it is worth to see this video for a unique perspective? There's hardly a better way to underline that we are not at the center of the universe... and that the veracity of this observation depends on the point of view.
posted by hat_eater at 2:23 PM on June 3, 2011


My God! Its full of stars.
posted by Gungho at 2:24 PM on June 3, 2011


What's really amazing is how fake it tends to look.
It looks like a photoshop yet its real. Amazing.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:59 PM on June 3, 2011


Maybe the Milky Way was shopped? 7 days isn't a lot of time to create a whole universe from scratch.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:25 PM on June 3, 2011


> It's astonishing to me how the night sky is simply gone for anyone living in a first world city.

I live in London, and it makes me sad when I remember this. On a clear night, you might be able to pick out Orion, but that's about it. This video is fantastic to look at, but it's a real shame that many people might never actually get to see our galaxy with their own eyes.

I've only really seen the stars once that I can remember. In 1999, when I must have been twelve, a total solar eclipse just touched the tip of Britain. My dad drove me and my brother down overnight to Cornwall to see it, and we finally stopped at a spot on the coast at maybe two or three in the morning. It was pitch black, and I'd been dozing in the back seat with no light other than the dashboard, so when I got out and looked up, the sky was bright. I can't picture what it actually looked like any more, but I remember how absolutely, impossibly full it was. Even the spaces between stars were just filled with more stars.

It ended up being overcast when the actual eclipse happened, though the shadow was still eery and amazing, but I'll always remember sitting on top of the car and looking at that sky.
posted by lucidium at 3:45 PM on June 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


After watching this video I've never felt more like we were all living on a tiny little rock hurling through the universe.

Exactly. I just kept being struck by that thought. About every ten seconds or so I thought, "we're just on a rock hurtling through space." I mean, I knew that but now I feel like I grok it more.
posted by jaybeans at 10:52 PM on June 3, 2011


I'm just at the part early in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything where he's talking about the literally unfathomable scale of the universe and watching supernovas and whatnot, so I've been in a "OMG, the scale of space!" fugue a lot lately. These videos tapped into that wild wonderment perfectly. It's staggering, in an odd and lovely way.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:57 PM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, I didn't realize the light pollution in New Jersey was really this bad.
posted by ms.codex at 11:33 PM on June 3, 2011


If all it takes is a few videos to prove to you how inconsequential we humans...or rather our planet or galaxy is, you have not been doing your science homework since you were 10 years old.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:23 AM on June 4, 2011


I thought I was watching a Peter Gabriel video there for a minute
posted by mateja at 5:23 AM on June 4, 2011


Really lovely. Thank you for sharing.

Every once in a while I see a video or read or hear something that completely hijacks my thought process and my brain momentarily plays out a sped-up version of that Powers of Ten movie. And when it zooms out to the maximum possible level, the whole thing starts going backwards in time, until there is just a dot. And in a moment, because my brain can't imagine something without a beginning, even that dot is gone.

This picture has that effect on me. Orion's Belt is such a familiar, recognizable astronomical feature that the changed perspective of satellite imagery really has a kind of visceral impact on me.
posted by polymath at 12:20 PM on June 4, 2011


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