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Posted on March 3rd, 2015

Reaching Orbit – Illusion of Lights

Click above to see an awesome time-lapse video of the Milky Way. (Credit:

Yay, another time lapse video!

This time the video I’m sharing is a trailer for a longer video, ‘Illusions of Light,’ that explores the night sky and our effect on landscapes through light pollution. The video starts with the claim that approximately 80% of people have never clearly seen the Milky Way. It hadn’t occurred to me that some people have never seen the Milky Way.

Every time I stare up at the sky and see that ribbon of light, I’m transported back in time, lying flat on a rock at a camp site in Missouri gazing at the stars. My god parents pointing out Orion and the Ursa Major as they chase each other across the sky. Having experienced something so breathtakingly beautiful on so many occasions, as well as a view that’s as accessible as looking up on a dark night, it’s hard to fathom that so many people have never seen the Milky Way.

By that note, they may have never contemplated the vastness of our Universe, and felt their own insignificance when presented with billions of stars just like our Sun strewn across the sky like sand on the beach. Time lapse videos like these intensify that feeling as you see the Earth spin and the stars shift across the horizon, leaving you with the feeling that all of this will remain the same for trillions of years after we are long gone. It is both terrifying while being entirely reassuring, the inevitability of death with the reassurance of the continuation of life.

Check out another time-lapse video of the aurora borealis glowing over Crater Lake National Park. (Credit: Goldpaint Photography)

There is nothing as beautiful as going to some place as dark as pitch and looking at the stars, it’s amazing how many more stars you can see as you get further away from light pollution. The creators, Brad and Marci Goldpaint, of ‘Illusions of Light’ spent three years traveling and hiking into remote areas to capture the night sky with astounding backdrops; negotiating with weather and nature for the perfect shot.

All this effort is to highlight the effects of light pollution, not just on our view of the night sky but also on our ecosystem, including plant and animal physiology and natural circadian rhythms. You can learn more about light pollution here. They also hold a number of workshops on night sky photography in different locations around Moab, Utah. With these links, you can see more of Brad’s amazing photography and other time-lapse videos.

So turn down the lights, enter full-screen mode and watch some of the most awe-inspiring videos of our Earth and space as we hurdle around the Sun.

Katie Nelson
Geospatial Ninja
(303) 718-7163

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