Take a front-row seat to wonder with Sean Goebel’s Mauna Kea Heavens time-lapse. Full screen, high-def, speakers up … you know the drill.
Atop the Big Island of Hawaii, a one million-year-old volcano towers silently above a tropical paradise. The native people named it Mauna Kea, after the snow-white cap at its peak. This living mountain extends over 33,000 feet from the base of the seafloor (twice the height of Everest) and, by my definition at least, the highest mountain on Earth.
Its 13,808 foot height above sea level mean that it sits above 40% of Earth’s atmosphere and water vapor. Combined with Hawaii’s low light pollution and near-equatorial location, this make Mauna Kea an idea place to observe the heavens free from terrestrial interference.
Over the past fifty years, thirteen telescopes have been erected on the site, with a fourteenth (the world’s largest) coming in the next few years. It’s a pretty sight, eh?
Sean Goebel, the artist behind this time-lapse, is a graduate student at the University of Hawaii with the enviable task of working at Mauna Kea, one of Earth’s prime perches from which to observe the universe. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Mauna Kea houses telescopes that see across the electromagnetic spectrum, from optical to radio. Its smallest mirrors are the size of the Hubble Space Telescope!
What’s up with the lasers? They are not part of a Pink Floyd light show, sadly. Rather, they are part of an advanced adaptive optics system. The gases and water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere cause light to distort as it travels to Earth (which is why stars twinkle). The lasers, up to a foot wide and five thousand times more powerful than a handheld laser pointer, shine through the atmosphere and their distortion is analyzed by computers on the ground. The telescope mirrors are adjusted several times per second in order to correct for the atmospheric blur. This, combined with their size, makes Mauna Kea’s largest telescopes some of the most sensitive ever constructed.
I agree with Sean: “Every telescope should have a laser,” whether or not they are useful. But even that brilliant light show has nothing on the cosmos itself. Thank you, Sean, for capturing it so wonderfully.
Visit the Mauna Kea Observatory website to learn more about the science behind this beautiful array of eyes on the sky. Oh, and enjoy the show :)
Hello from San Francisco! I’m currently at YouTube HQ talking about education through video with all of our favorite YouTubers. The weather is beautiful, and the curiosity and energy is inspiring. Here’s a local taste of both, a time lapse full of cloud magic and fantastical fog: Adrift, by Simon Christen
The Molten Door In The Floor
While shooting all of the 59 U.S. National Parks, odds are that photographer QT Luong has seen some pretty bad-ass stuff. Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Big Bend … these are Earth’s treasures.
But I’d put money down that this Hawaii footage puts those all to shame. This is like a window into the the center of our planet, a place where the land literally grows out of the sea, spitting fire back into the salty waves in fits of island-building steam.
This. Is. Awesome. Full screen, HD, you know the drill.
Fantastic Fungi and the Forest Floor
Louie Schwartzberg is perhaps the finest time-lapse nature photographer working today. He’s behind the stunning bee footage that made a quick appearance in my YouTube video about how they see flowers in UV.
Here he talks to mycologist Paul Stamets about the importance of fungi to forest health. When you see a mushroom, you’re looking at the tip of an iceberg, the tiny fruit of an underground fungal web that can stretch over 2,200 acres and live for more than 2,000 years!!
Louie Schwartzberg’s films are available in an iOS app now, for free.
Tip of the mycelium to Amy Robinson for the link
Night Skies: The Long View
Long-time followers of this blog know that I have somewhat of a soft spot for time-lapse videos of the sky. We all have our weaknesses. For some, it’s chocolate. For others, it’s becoming aroused while watching zombie scenes in The Walking Dead. Mine is the temporal manipulation of cosmic wonder.
This video is not a time-lapse. It is an anti-time-lapse.
Coudal Partners, the people behind the Field Notes brand of notebooks, escaped the big city, headed out to rural Nevada, and filmed this 6.5 hour view of the gorgeous night sky to celebrate the release of their “Night Sky” series (already sold out online, sadly, although you might be able to find them in stores).
If you head on over to the YouTube page, you can watch this wonder in freakin’ 4K resolution (just click “Original” on the gear icon). If anything begged for full-screen hi-res viewing, this is it.
It’s pure peace. Visual meditation. Wonderful.
Peer into the center of the Milky Way with this stunning time-lapse video from Chile’s Paranal Observatory, by photographer Stéphane Guisard. Pretty perfect for a Friday, eh?
The bright streak that traverses our sky is the actual disk of our galaxy, the “milk” in our “way” is from the density of stars along the disk-like plane of our spiral home. You can also see a couple of our neighboring galaxies in there, dusty splotches against the inky dome.
Rebecca Rosen has more, with a nice reminder that any picture of a galaxy showing an arrow that says “you are here” is lying to you :) A Whole-Sky Time-Lapse of the Galactic Center - The Atlantic
Bonus: Take a look at this mind-bogglingly big snapshot of the Milky Way, a nine-gigapixel image containing more than 84 million stars. Think that’s a lot? It’s just 1% of the sky, and just this galaxy. It’s also my desktop background image!
Source: The Atlantic
Click full screen, sit back, and turn the sky into a thousand diamonds with this beautifully ethereal time lapse captured in northern Michigan by Shawn Malone. This is North Country Dreamland.
Ten thousand frames of stellar wonder stitched into a few minutes of earthly wow. Plus a special visit from a blue heron!
Keep looking up, and stay curious.
Epic timelapse video: Comet PanSTARRS dances with auroras, by Babak Tafreshi. Watch the brilliant comet fall behind the mountains before the sky is filled with swirling auroral emissions above Norway.
Your end-of-week moment of zen, best in HD/full screen.
Bonus: The science and beauty of auroras, one of my YouTube creations.
(via National Geographic)
Source: National Geographic