New Night Sky Timelapse Video: Stars and Storms Vie for Attention

Breathtaking shots of the ground and sky dominate this striking time-lapse video shot in South Dakota and Wyoming between April and October of 2012 by veteran photographer Randy Halverson.

One highlight: the footage shows the Milky Way galaxy’s bright central hub — located more than 30,000 light years away — repeatedly gliding across the frame over many hours as our planet rotates on its axis.  Meanwhile our galaxy’s bright core can be seen clearly transected by a dark rift of gas and dust populating one of its spiral arms between us and the downtown region of the Milky Way.

A lot of patience goes into making these time-lapse works of art, with more than 3 hours of filming needed to get just a 15 second clip of the Milky Way lazily moving through the heavens.

Halverson says his favorite shot is at the 1:15 minute mark of the video when brewing storms clouds and the Milky Way galaxy both vie for attention.

“That went on for hours that night and normally that doesn’t happen,” Halverson explains.  “Storms are hard to shoot at night, because they move relatively fast for night time-lapse.

 Not to be outdone,  a celestial tempest in the form of colorful auroras paint the sky above the Badlands of South Dakota.
“I went there to shoot Milky Way rise, but I got lucky to catch a strong Aurora storm there,” said Halverson.
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Changing Planet

Andrew Fazekas, aka The Night Sky Guy, is a science writer, broadcaster, and lecturer who loves to share his passion for the wonders of the universe through all media. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic News and is the national cosmic correspondent for Canada’s Weather Network TV channel, space columnist for CBC Radio network, and a consultant for the Canadian Space Agency. As a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Andrew has been observing the heavens from Montreal for over a quarter century and has never met a clear night sky he didn’t like.