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Posted on December 6th, 2016

Out of This World – Night Skies

This month I’m back to amazing videography and photography. I’d like to give kudos to Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy, I get so many of my article ideas from his blog and then regurgitate them (lovely imagery) here.

In my Reaching Orbit article I gave you a rundown of the Gaia satellite, its five year mission is to image the Milky Way in stereo, creating a 3-dimensional map of our home galaxy. More imagery and data needs collecting before we get our hands on a 3D model of the galaxy. Until then, there are some amazing images of the Milky Way galaxy, painstakingly stitched together, creating an immense mosaic from Earth’s perspective. Rogelio Bernal Andreo, is an astrophotographer (jealous!) who has taken amazing images of the heavens including a massive mosaic of the Milky Way. The image is available for sale on his website, he also put together a virtual tour of the mosaic that is more than worth exploring.


You know I love time-lapse videos, especially of stars and space, rolling clouds and lightning storms. This time-lapse video by Babak Tafreshi combines many of my favorite events showing off the effects of refraction through our atmosphere. As night descends and stars become visible, the world turns and the effects of light refraction aren’t immediately apparent. This video shows how the light we see from stars is distorted by the varying atmospheric layers, especially as they approach or move away from the horizon. Light rays are refracted as they move through layers in the atmosphere. Refracting and bending, the light is jostled around when moving through these layers on the way to your eyes. The video also includes the Moon as it rises above the Earth, appearing squashed as it struggles to ascend into the sky.

Sit tight and watch how our atmosphere affects our perception of light as it moves through the gaseous body. (Credit: Babak Tafreshi)


Looking for some more fire and brimstone in your life? Look no further! Mike Olbinski is a storm chaser slash wedding photographer, and his time-lapse storm videos are jaw dropping. From monsoons to tornados, he makes nature’s most violent acts a thing of immense beauty. It takes some distance from the destruction to see these phenomenon for the natural wonders that they are. Coupled with fantastically foreboding music and artistic timing, be prepared for goose bumps! This particular video, Vorticity, was filmed over 18 days and contains seven tornados. Be sure to watch to the very end to see a perfectly formed tornado tear across the landscape.

Mike Oblinski’s Vorticity video should command all of your attention, so turn the music up and enter full screen mode! (Credit: Mike Oblinski)

Katie Nelson
Geospatial Ninja
(303) 718-7163

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