Perseid Nights

My friend Mark “Indy” Kochte is an astronomer, mountain climber, and time-lapse photographer. So who better to capture last month’s Perseid meteor shower like this (make sure the video is set to HD and opened full screen, and turn up your sound. Hit play and feast your eyes and ears):

Perseid Nights by Mark “Indy” Kochte

Is that amazingly awesomely amazingly amazing or what? Indy captured this sequence over four nights in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado and Vedauwoo State Park, Wyoming during the Perseid Meteor Shower of 2013 (August 8, 10, 11, and 12 to be exact).

All of the images of the time lapse were taken during the meteor shower, but the meteors themselves are really tough to spot in the video. That’s because meteors are very brief events in the sky, typically lasting just a second or less (2 or 3 seconds if you’re lucky). Since time-lapse video plays back at 24 frames per second, any frame that happens to have a meteor streak in it lasts just 1/24th of a second during the video (so don’t blink!) Many of the longer streaks in the video are of airplanes and satellites. But if you look sharp, the meteors are there!

Speaking of satellites, there are some that display very interesting motions in the video. At 0:49 seconds in, you’ll notice there is a “star” in the left third of the video that seems to be moving to the left, while the rest of the stars seem to continue their clockwise arc down. That’s a geosynchronous satellite!

To get a better view of some of the individual meteor streaks, Mark was kind enough to post a few of the stills on Flickr so be sure to check them out.

The whole video is hypnotic and even a little dizzying to watch. I love videos like this because seeing the night sky moving in time lapse really gives the sense that we are living on a planet that is rotating on its axis in a giant galaxy.

Which, it turns out, we are.

h/t to Mark “Indy” Kochte (of course!)

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