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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.
Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

  1. AJ
    Victoria BC
    July 7, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Wow!! Just absolutely incredible! Love the music too!!

  2. Michael Monroe
    Miami, Florida
    July 6, 2013, 5:41 pm

    Hey, it was beautiful. Hope you could go to Hawaii or the bahamas and do some shots. On top of Haleakala on Maui would be awesome. I wish I could use this video as my Facebook cover page, I’d never take it off. Did the camera you use sit on a moving carriage of somekind? Well keep up the good work.

  3. Joe
    Pittsburgh
    July 6, 2013, 9:56 am

    Fantastic! How did you achieve the camera movement in some of those shots?

  4. pradeepkumar
    India
    July 6, 2013, 3:25 am

    So much tensions, stresses, complications in every day’s life. Watching this video I forget all the stresses of this mechanical world. I feel again myself close to mother nature. Its rejuvenating… awesome, brilliant! The song is also fantastic. Thanks for posting this Andrew. Gr8 job Randy and kudos to all those who were behind making of this video….

  5. kaushik
    India
    July 5, 2013, 10:22 pm

    Awesome Video :-) what is the name of the song?

  6. Luis Lopez
    from: GUADALAJARA MEXICO
    July 5, 2013, 9:51 pm

    Imagenes fantasticas e increibles, felicidadez por tan exeletnte trabajo. Su amigo: LuisLopez

  7. Rob
    Calgary, Alberta
    July 5, 2013, 6:58 pm

    How can i get a copy of it?

  8. Robert Kirkpatrick
    Southeastern Wisconsin USA
    July 5, 2013, 6:37 pm

    Just awesome…God’s creation for all to see.

  9. Christian Lozano
    Monterrey Mexico
    July 5, 2013, 5:22 pm

    Que hermosura de video pocas veces vemos esto tenemos que salir de la ciudad y si alcanzamos a ver una estrella fugaz nos emocionamos Gracias por el video

  10. Clark England
    Logan, UT
    July 5, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Great work and beautiful photography. I like the use of foreground with the sky shots. Many people think the sky trails are shooting stars, but at 24 or 30 fps and slow shutter speed, a shooting star would hardly be seen. They are most likely airplane trails.

  11. Jennie O
    July 5, 2013, 10:33 am

    What is the song and who sings it?

  12. Wesley Walls
    Little Rock, Arkansas
    July 5, 2013, 10:24 am

    Amazing. What is the soundtrack? I love it but Shazam couldn’t identify it.

  13. Jennie O
    Vancouver
    July 5, 2013, 10:21 am

    I can’t stop watching this. Its gorgeous.

  14. Shannon Hutcheson
    Toronto, Canada
    July 5, 2013, 9:10 am

    Really enjoyed watching that! Fantastic shots, just breathtaking. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Tricia Horn Kovacevich
    July 5, 2013, 8:53 am

    I have been a star gazer since early childhood. Thank you for your time and effort in making this lovely video.

  16. Tricia Horn Kovacevich
    Hanover, PA
    July 5, 2013, 8:50 am

    I have been a star gazer since early childhood. Thank you for your time and effort in making this lovely video.

  17. Jeff L
    Houston
    July 5, 2013, 8:31 am

    This is the first time I have been made to feel as a moving object though space. If this was the ultimate goal, you really nailed it. The counter movement of the foreground is what really does it for me. Also, the depth you achieve in your images is astounding. Bravo.

  18. Christine Eustaquio
    Manila, Philippines
    July 5, 2013, 7:56 am

    It is simply breathtaking! Shared it with my friends… wish the music were something more soothing though hahaha, i just turned off the sounds which made the time lapse even more awesome!

  19. Maggie Turner
    Muskoka, Canada
    July 5, 2013, 7:13 am

    Thank you for helping me see and learn something entirely new, and reminding me that we are a small part of a vast universe. For the first time in my longish life, watching the milky way in your video, I could see, and understood how our planet travels and provides life and safety in a vastness, a beautiful vastness. Again, thank you for helping me reach my perceptual potential as a human.

  20. Hix
    London UK
    July 5, 2013, 7:04 am

    Forget my first question, a bit of net research churned this up:
    Most shots go from 20-30+ seconds per frame, with three second intervals and run continuous for 3+ hours.

  21. Hix
    London UK
    July 5, 2013, 7:00 am

    Hi,

    How did you achieve the smooth transition between exposures at dawn and dusk. Did you use hardware bulb ramping or was this done in post production?
    Another query. What roughly would you say is the ideal ratio between shutter time and firing rate for such imagery?
    Cheers.

  22. Al Tinat
    Sweden
    July 5, 2013, 5:35 am

    Excellent work but lousy choice of music. It should have been backed up by something spacy and without any singing-especailly male singers.

  23. Tami
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    July 5, 2013, 5:01 am

    Amazing…

  24. Kanoe Burgess
    Oahu,Hawaii
    July 5, 2013, 3:44 am

    wow just Wow!!

  25. Vishal Shetty
    INDIA
    July 5, 2013, 3:18 am

    Astonishing!! Great work with the cam….. Thank you, for this amazingly creative video…..

  26. jin
    South Korea
    July 5, 2013, 3:02 am

    oh!!! very awesome…very impressive..star and milky way very beautiful..this is the heaven!!!!

  27. Aileen Lucero
    Philippines
    July 5, 2013, 1:19 am

    Beyond beautiful. Truly breathtaking.

  28. FRANCISCO RAMON FOMPEROSA MEZA
    mexico city
    July 5, 2013, 1:15 am

    simplemente impresionante, gracias por permitirnos ver la maravillosa naturaleza y el poder de las estrellas, gracias

  29. Allen Meek
    Singapore
    July 5, 2013, 1:05 am

    Excellent video though the extremely poor music choice seriously detracts from the overall effect.

  30. MIke
    United States
    July 5, 2013, 12:45 am

    Beautiful, outstanding work. Now how about some credit to the band/musicians who added to this piece? Who are they?

  31. Ринат
    Санкт-Петербург
    July 4, 2013, 4:15 am

    Красота и ещё раз красота!!! :-)

  32. Peggy
    Rochester, MN
    June 29, 2013, 11:45 pm

    Just breathtaking to watch, & thank you for your skill & hard work, but – – that music was just awful for an octogenarian!!

  33. Sheri Abear
    Chicago,IL.
    June 13, 2013, 1:19 pm

    I don’t see this at all in the city,just Beautiful,Thank-You for all of your time involved.

  34. AndRea
    Houston, TX
    June 12, 2013, 5:59 pm

    AMAZING video!!! All that I goes around us and can’t see it…
    =D

  35. Arjun
    India
    June 12, 2013, 2:42 pm

    This is AWESOME, almost devine

  36. courtney
    June 12, 2013, 7:31 am

    What equipment was used to capture this amazing video?

    • Andrew Fazekas
      June 12, 2013, 10:53 am

      Randy Halverson, the photographer, says the following:

      Equipment Used
      Canon 5D Mark III, sometimes with a 2nd from Borrowlenses.com
      Canon 5D Mark II
      Canon 60D

      I used a variety of lenses, many from Borrowlenses.com
      Canon 14, 16-35, 24-70, 50 F1.2, 70-200mm lenses
      Zeiss 21, 25, 35mm lenses
      Nikon 14-24mm with Novoflex Adapter

  37. Stephanie LaPare
    national geographic
    June 12, 2013, 1:06 am

    Brilliant!! I have a great interest in Astronomy. If any one loves the Milky Way then you must check this out.

  38. Bob safety dud
    New York
    June 11, 2013, 7:47 pm

    not often to see the night sky let alone that way.
    so cool so cool

  39. Michael Winter
    Durban,KZN, Republic of South Africa
    June 11, 2013, 3:38 pm

    It was an absolutely fantastic film with excellent supporting music. Well done

  40. Judith Ann Plummer
    South central Ontario, Canada
    June 11, 2013, 2:38 pm

    This beautiful, well put together piece sure makes me feel so a part of what is around me in the things I can see but also what I cannot fathom. Just lovely Randy. Thankyou so much for your excellent work and creativity. Judy