I see the sky move under my feet

The entire universe in blog form
May 30 2011 10:00 AM

I see the sky move under my feet

[UPDATE: Just FYI, I changed the links below to a new version of the video with better audio.]

My love of time lapse night sky shots is on record (see Related Posts below), and I was all set to point you to this simply stunning video that's been making the web rounds the past couple of days, showing the sky circling above the Very Large Telescope observatory in Chile...

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!  


... but then I found out that Youtube user bulletpeople took that video and manipulated it a little. He changed the point of view a teensy bit, just a scosh, so that instead of the sky moving around us in a geocentric fashion, the Earth rotates under the sky:

[Set the resolution to 720p and make it full screen for the best effect.]

How cool is that? I won't say this frame of reference is more real than our usual everyday geocentric one*, because no frame is more real than any other. But it does give you a little bit of cosmic perspective, doesn't it?

Don't ever forget: we live on a tilted spinning ball revolving around a star that's orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy that's on the outskirts of the Virgo galaxy cluster that's part of the Local Supercluster that's in an expanding Universe that not only gets bigger every second but gets bigger faster every second.

That's a lot to handle, I know... but it's real, and it's true, and it's awesome.

Tip o' the lens cap to PopSci for the original video, and Scottie Davis for the edited one. Original video credit: Stéphane Guisard and Jose Francisco Salgado/ESO.

* Not to be confused with a capital-G Geocentric one.

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