Wyoming skies

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 29 2011 9:27 AM

Wyoming skies

If you need a pick-me-up to start your week (after a hurricane, a series of earthquakes, and just having to face another danged week at work) then may I suggest this amazing time-lapse video by Eric Hines, called "Wild Wyoming":

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!  

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[Make sure it's set to HD, and make it full screen. I personally think the music is very good, too (it's from "The Fountain"), so you might want to crank up the speakers as well.]

Isn't that breath-taking? At about a minute in I saw a couple of satellites heading across the Milky Way right-to-left, and of course the airplanes zipping through are pretty obvious (from the direction they're moving, I'd guess most are coming from or heading to my home base of Denver airport). At 2:20 there is an eerie scene of what looks like light pillars to me; vertical glowing columns caused by flat, hexagonal ice crystals in the air bending reflecting the light from sources beneath them. I'm a bit surprised they would appear in the summer, but some locations in eastern Wyoming/western Nebraska can get plenty cold at night. [UPDATE: I was wrong, those are simply lens flares, which makes a lot more sense to me. I asked Eric Hines about it and he replied on his Google+ post. Thanks to Neil Creek in the comments for pointing this out.]

Also, at 2:50, there's a scene that better be familiar to anyone who reads this blog!

I've been to southern Wyoming (it's not far from Boulder) and the geology there is very cool. Someday I'll have to go fossil hunting up there. And maybe do a little star gazing too. Clearly, the skies there are magnificent.

Image credit: screen grab from Eric Hines' video. Tip o' the lens cap to Randy Halverson.



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