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Across The Night
May 19, 2009 1:32 PM   Subscribe

A time lapse video of the night sky as it passes over the 2009 Texas Star Party in Fort Davis, Texas. The galactic core of the Milky Way is brightly displayed.
posted by Effigy2000 (67 comments total) 145 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's the good stuff there.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:36 PM on May 19, 2009


That's gorgeous.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 1:37 PM on May 19, 2009


Wow. Just wow.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 1:40 PM on May 19, 2009


Every day something amazes me.
posted by futureisunwritten at 1:40 PM on May 19, 2009


Great, taunt me with alluring video of a place I'll never get to go, you big meanie.
posted by The Whelk at 1:41 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Great, taunt me with alluring video of a place I'll never get to go, you big meanie.

Texas isn't as great as some say it is.
posted by hal9k at 1:46 PM on May 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Love this! I was watching and thinking "wait is bit the milky way? is that? what about that kinda brighter blur...oh my god" And then the intensity of the rising sun...wow. I'll probably go watch that a few more times. Thanks!
posted by gofargogo at 1:46 PM on May 19, 2009


I can't favorite that enough.
posted by mazola at 1:46 PM on May 19, 2009


This is why I come to Metafilter.
posted by GeekAnimator at 1:46 PM on May 19, 2009


Texas isn't as great as some say it is.

Oh, just shut up.

And curse you, for making me type that, instead of my original comment: I just saw the Marfa lights!
posted by mudpuppie at 1:46 PM on May 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I would have favorited this sooner, but I had to watch it a second time.

Gave me wicked acrophobia though.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:47 PM on May 19, 2009


That's very cool. The Blue Danube started playing in my head as I watched it.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:49 PM on May 19, 2009


My God...it's full of stars!
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:49 PM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fantastic. But as a non-astronomer type, I'm curious: Is the Milky Way commonly viewable as such? Is this something the average person could capture with a tripod and long-exposure photo?
posted by slogger at 1:52 PM on May 19, 2009


Yes, slogger, you just have to be far away from cities and their light pollution. This is why I go camping :)
posted by waxboy at 1:57 PM on May 19, 2009


Bad ass.

I really dig, too, how on Vimeo you can see the view count of the video day by day. It goes a little something like:

May 15th: 44
May 16th: 24
May 17th: 45
May 18th: 72,700
May 19th: 91,800

I guess word got out.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:57 PM on May 19, 2009


The galactic core of the Milky Way is brightly displayed surprisingly flexible.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:58 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's always amazing to be reminded that we live in space. Thanks for that Effigy2000!
posted by WPW at 1:58 PM on May 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


Thanks, that just made my day. Boom-de-ya-da!
posted by natabat at 2:00 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, you can see the Milky Way! However, it's not bright, and it's not always well placed to be seen.

More astounding Milky Way imagery: Astronomy picture of the day, 2007 October 20.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:01 PM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


wow.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 2:04 PM on May 19, 2009


Hey! I'll be at the McDonald Observatory this weekend!
Awesome video. Now I'm really looking forward to it.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 2:05 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


God, that's lovely. Reminds me of one of my favorite David Mead lyrics: there's a scar in the blue sky by the old airport.
posted by jbickers at 2:06 PM on May 19, 2009


That's terrific. I like how it gets all white at the end like in the end of that Ultravox video.
posted by jessamyn at 2:07 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The galactic core of the Milky Way is brightly displayed surprisingly flexible filled with delicious nougat.
posted by slogger at 2:07 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awesome.

And thanks for the laugh, the card cheat.
posted by ciderwoman at 2:09 PM on May 19, 2009


And to think: all this starry splendor, which once was the birthright of every living sighted creature, was voluntarily cast aside—forever replaced by a featureless, dull gray-orange canopy of stale smog and reflected sodium glare.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:25 PM on May 19, 2009 [14 favorites]


The stars at night,
Are big and bright,
Deep in the heart of Texas.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:31 PM on May 19, 2009


Thanks for posting this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:36 PM on May 19, 2009


Deep in the heart of Texas.

I think you meant this link.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 PM on May 19, 2009


And this is why cities should have "blackout nights" where we turn off or turn down all the lights and we have star watching parties.

Because you can actually see this with your own eyes from the comfort of your own yard or park once a month, or once a year at least. I'd imagine there would be profound community benefits in reminding us how tiny we all are even together, and a perspective on all of our problems and tribulations.
posted by loquacious at 2:44 PM on May 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


slogger: check out the comments below the video. The photographer describes a special filter he used plus his adjustment of contrast and brightness to make the core stand out. That stuff is relatively minor, though -- the pictures are still within the reach of us knuckle-walkers (providing we're knuckle-walking someplace remote).
posted by joaquim at 2:52 PM on May 19, 2009


Fantastic. But as a non-astronomer type, I'm curious: Is the Milky Way commonly viewable as such? Is this something the average person could capture with a tripod and long-exposure photo?

I was wondering the same thing. The photographer explains his setup in the comments:
The time-lapse sequence was taken with the simplest equipment that I brought to the star party. I put the Canon EOS-5D (AA screen modified to record hydrogen alpha at 656 nm) with an EF 15mm f/2.8 lens on a weighted tripod. Exposures were 20 seconds at f/2.8 ISO 1600 followed by 40 second interval. Exposures were controlled by an interval timer shutter release (Canon TC80N3). Power was provided by a Hutech EOS203 12v power adapter run off a 12v deep cycle battery. Large jpg files shot in custom white balance were batch processed in Photoshop (levels, curves, contrast, Noise Ninja noise reduction, resize) and assembled in Quicktime Pro. Editing/assembly was with Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9
I'm not familiar with the jargon, but I think this means that you wouldn't see such vibrant colours with the naked eye, or even on regular long-exposure photo.
posted by robinhoudt at 2:52 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


(should've previewed)
posted by robinhoudt at 2:53 PM on May 19, 2009


Wow, that was truly amazing. Thanks for posting this!
posted by malthas at 2:59 PM on May 19, 2009


Jai guru deva om!
posted by punkfloyd at 2:59 PM on May 19, 2009


That gave me a severe case of OH MY GOD I'M ON A PLANET RIGHT NOW syndrome.
posted by Widepath at 3:03 PM on May 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


That's not a syndrome, that's a perceptual awakening. Don't let those bastard therapists tell you any different.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:10 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Moderately improved by adding Yakety-Sax playing in the background.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:13 PM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not familiar with the jargon, but I think this means that you wouldn't see such vibrant colours with the naked eye, or even on regular long-exposure photo.

I don't fully understand it all, but I'll throw out basic google-fu until someone smarter in this field comes along to clarify all this.

Start with a Canon EOS 5D 12.8 megapixel DSLR, with spectrum enhancements to make full use of the bandwidth of the Canon CMOS sensor through the use of custom designed filters, improving steps that the original cameras had made towards astrophotography with hydrogen-alpha light. Set the camera at f/2.8 ISO 1600. Exposures controlled by Canon TC80N3. Use Hutech EOS203 12v power adapter run off a 12v deep cycle battery.

Images taken with custom white balance, then batch processed in Photoshop (levels, curves, contrast, Noise Ninja noise reduction, resize), and assembled in Quicktime Pro. Editing/assembly was with Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:42 PM on May 19, 2009 [9 favorites]


Heartily seconding Widepath.
posted by odinsdream at 3:59 PM on May 19, 2009


Great, just great, Earth is lop-sided. WTF, GOD?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:13 PM on May 19, 2009


posted by filthy light thief
eponysterical
posted by Dadoes at 4:18 PM on May 19, 2009


this is why cities should have "blackout nights"

That would be great until OH MY GOD SOMEONE JUST DROVE THROUGH THE LIVING ROOM WINDOW.

Cool video, though. I wish I lived closer to a dark zone.
posted by echo target at 4:32 PM on May 19, 2009


*sigh

It was already so beautiful with the night sky richly full of stars and then that amazing galactic core of the Milky Way made my eyes fill with tears and think of "they should've sent a poet".

Uplifting and awesome post. Thanks Effigy200.
posted by nickyskye at 4:39 PM on May 19, 2009


The 2009 Star Party is really quite boring, but when they speed it up with time lapsed photography it's fuckin' astronomical.
posted by digsrus at 5:08 PM on May 19, 2009


At first, I was like "OOOOHHHH!" and then I was like, "AUGH! Nuclear holocaust!" Then I realized it was just the Sun.

That's how I wake up every morning.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:46 PM on May 19, 2009 [12 favorites]


Holy wow.
posted by rtha at 5:55 PM on May 19, 2009


I got laid near Fort Davis once. Talk about seeing stars!!
posted by Senator at 7:06 PM on May 19, 2009


That's it! I'm goin' camping. Fantastic, billlllions and billlllions of thank yous, effigy.
posted by Mister_A at 7:12 PM on May 19, 2009


Space. The Final Frontier.
posted by bwg at 7:21 PM on May 19, 2009


This is great. The only other thing I have to add, for those who didn't know and find it interesting (as I did), is that the connection between our galaxy being called the "milky way" and the similarity between "galactic" and "lactic" (as in "milky") is not a coincidence.
posted by squarehead at 7:22 PM on May 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not a Total Perspective Vortex, but the closest thing to it I've seen. I want to go there and see this in the worst way.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 7:44 PM on May 19, 2009


posted by filthy light thief
eponysterical


I think we can retire the term now.

I notice that among other things he used a H-alpha filter, normally used for those wonderfully detailed pictures of the sun you sometimes see. They are not cheap; he obviously put a lot of thought and effort into this.
posted by TedW at 8:10 PM on May 19, 2009


The sun is frickin' terrifying, man.
posted by Mister_A at 8:11 PM on May 19, 2009


Also, a couple of years ago Canon actually made a camera aimed at the astrophotography market, the EOS 20Da. The main difference between it and the standard 20D was the removal of the IR filter that is standard in most digital cameras.
posted by TedW at 8:18 PM on May 19, 2009


I want to go there and see this in the worst way.
You're already there, that view is available anywhere on the planet if it is dark.
The only thing to note is because each shot is 20s long, it appears brighter than it would to the naked eye, allowing the colours to standout and extra detail become apparent.
It was beautiful, and now I want to do my own version.
posted by bystander at 8:26 PM on May 19, 2009


Is the Milky Way commonly viewable as such? Is this something the average person could capture with a tripod and long-exposure photo?

looks like that with the naked eye up near death valley...trick is, you have to let your eyes get adjusted to the dark...this takes at least 15 minutes and is ruined the instant you see a light. red light, though, doesn't wash out your 'night vision'...that's what all the red flashes are around the perimeter of this video...the flashlights of astronomers as they consult star charts or dig around for the bag of m&ms.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:25 PM on May 19, 2009


And this is why cities should have "blackout nights" where we turn off or turn down all the lights and we have star watching parties.

Nah, this is why people shouldn't live in cities at all. I hope I end my life as I started it, in some place far away from civilization where the air is clear.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:37 PM on May 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


One of the best dark places I've ever been, was the middle of a frozen lake. Being suited up to take the cold adds much to the atmosphere of the situation, almost like walking on the moon or something.
posted by Goofyy at 2:06 AM on May 20, 2009


I loved that.
posted by molecicco at 2:44 AM on May 20, 2009


Astronomers do it all night.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:23 AM on May 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but they need tools to help them do that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:23 AM on May 20, 2009


I've been to a star party in Fort Davis -- it did look like that! It was amazing and so much fun, and then sad when we lost our night vision to car headlights. Beautiful part of the country. Go!
posted by armacy at 6:38 AM on May 20, 2009


Awesome.
posted by marginaliana at 7:08 AM on May 20, 2009


As mentioned above, the brilliance of the Milky Way in the time-lapse photos is due to the 20-second exposures that the photographer took each time he opened the shutter eye. This is why astrophotographs are so amazingly stunningly beautiful- you just open the lens and let the light soak in.

When you're looking at the stars with just naked eyes (or even a telescope), you don't see the purples and reds and other colors that are in the photographs. You do indeed see the Milky Way, and it's about as big as in the video, but just in black and white.

That's not to say that it's a disappointment, though. If you're under really dark skies (as in, hundreds of miles from the nearest city), and if you let your eyes adjust long enough, you'll lie there like a drunken fool looking up at the sky, saying, "Wow... look at all those stars. Dude."

The Texas Star Party is held out in the mountains of West Texas, and if you've ever driven through that part of the world, you know how empty and desolate the land is. In fact, it's the northern reach of the Chihuahua Desert (which also contains Big Bend National Park).
posted by math at 8:12 AM on May 20, 2009


jbickers : there's a scar in the blue sky by the old airport.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw it and immediately thought it looked like a scar. A very pretty and well filmed scar at that.

I liked that there were some shooting stars and a slight brightening in the center that becomes more and more visible between the 11 to 13 second mark, because it gave me some time to think "What's the big deal? It's a bit brighter that the space around it... that's not so impressive..." and then a couple of seconds later I'm going "Ah. Ok, yeah. That's pretty fucking cool."
posted by quin at 8:21 AM on May 20, 2009


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