Well, at least light pollution makes for a pretty time lapse

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Oct. 6 2011 11:28 AM

Well, at least light pollution makes for a pretty time lapse

Light pollution -- wasted light that gets thrown up into the sky instead of down onto the ground where it's actually useful -- is the enemy of every sky watcher, from the professional astronomer to the some time star gazer. It overwhelms fainter objects, and in bad cases even the brightest stars, reducing the glory of the sky to a washed-out glow.

But, it pains me to admit, it can be pretty. Photographer Brad Goldpaint used it to his advantage to make this short, lovely time lapse video called "Wiser for the Time", showing orange-lit clouds racing past the sky above them:

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 to watch this full screen in HD!]

Recognize those skies? Orion, Taurus, Capella, Polaris, the Milky Way... given the light pollution, I was surprised how well some of those fainter objects showed up (especially the Andromeda Galaxy in both sets!). I was thinking just yesterday, in fact, that it's been a while since I've been to a seriously dark site and seen more stars than I could hope to count. Maybe it's time to find some secluded spot in the Rockies and wait for sunset...



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