The stars above, the luminescence below

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
March 3 2011 7:00 AM

The stars above, the luminescence below

Sometimes the strangeness and beauty of nature come together in a scene so lovely, so surreal, that words fail. Such is the case in Phil Hart's spectacular gallery of pictures showing bioluminescence in Gippsland Lakes in Victoria, Australia:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

Oh, my. Can you believe this is real? I had to compress the file to get it to work on the blog, so please click it to see it in higher-resolution, and also look at the other astonishing pictures in his gallery.

Phil has a page describing in detail the pictures. In this case, a 1.5 hour exposure shows the glow from the trillions of Noctiluca Scintillans protists in the lake, as well as the trails of stars as they circle the southern celestial pole. That light on the horizon is not the Moon, but a house or some other man-made object. I love how the reflection curves and breaks up near the shore.

Phil's pictures are simply breath-taking, and you just have to go and take a look. I am continually astonished at just how beautiful and surprising nature can be. It's thrilling to see such disparate pieces superposed in this way.

Tip o' the luciferin to Jared Hopkins. Image used with permission of Phil Hart.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.