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article imageHawaii time-lapse night sky video goes viral (video)

By Anne Sewell     Dec 22, 2013 in Science
A graduate student in astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, has made a stunning time-lapse video depicting the Milky Way over Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
Sean Goebel, the graduate student, put together the new Hawaii night sky video using photos shot on three consecutive nights during April plus four nights during the summer of 2013.
The night sky progression over Mauna Kea, 13,803-foot (4,207 meters) mountain on Hawaii's Big Island, also captures the telescopes used in the area, including The Keck, Gemini and Subaru telescopes. Each of the telescopes have lasers, used to remove the blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere using adaptive optics.
According to Goebel, he set up his cameras on nights when the weather was clear. He also ensured that the moon was small on those nights (to reduce brightness) and he wanted telescopes to be running lasers at the time. Apparently lasers were running some of the nights as the astronomers were observing the black hole at the center of the Milky Way at the time.
Using two digital SLR cameras (a Canon 5D Mk. II and Rebel XT), taking 300 1-minute exposures, a typical scene took about five hours to film, according to Goebel. More detail about how he made the video can be viewed here on his website.
To create motion in the scenes, Goebel used a home-built rotary table and he later edited the images to put together the video.
When asked by space.com why he made the video, Goebel said that he pretty much did it just for fun. He apparently likes astronomy and photography, and enjoys making pretty videos.
While he has made several other time-lapse videos in the past, including Yosemite, Death Valley and other locations, he says the Mauna Kea video has been the most popular so far.
"I guess people haven’t seen lasers tracking night sky before," Goebel said.
The version of the time-lapse video below includes an interview with Goebel about the video:
More about Hawaii, Milky way, Mauna Kea, Time lapse, Video
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