A cross section of science on the cyberscreen

Death Valley Dreamlapse


Timelapse of the night sky with DSLR photography is the rage these days. Set this to music with an interesting landscape and we have some of the most impressive videos out there on the internet.

Gavin Heffernan with Sunchaser Pictures specializes in this type of night sky work. His latest was taken in Death Valley on December 13, 2012, the night of the Geminid meteor shower, an incredible planetary alignment, and a bit of excitement as some sort of UFO seems to circle through the star trails several times (this shows up at 1:30-1:35). Take a look.

From their description:

The Geminids get crazy as the sun comes up (2:20-2:35) but you can spot a bunch more throughout, if you look closely -- or here's a nice shot. There's also some passing planets (1:15-1:30 and 2:15-2:25). I think these are Jupiter and Mars(?), but maybe some smart astronomer out there can verify?

The "UFO" appears at (1:30-1:35) and makes three broad circular sweeps over the desert. Though in timelapse it appears to be moving fast, consider the 5 seconds = about 50 minutes, so it's creeping. There was no sound, so it definitely wasn't a helicopter. Closer picture here. It can also be seen cutting through the circular star trails in the shot used above!

There are details on how the video was captured at their vimeo site if you want to learn more.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Starting Thanksgiving

Enter code: HOLIDAY 2015
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >


Email this Article