Horizons: Time-Lapse Video of the Thundering Sky

The entire universe in blog form
June 10 2013 9:00 AM

Time-Lapse Video: Horizons

Still from Horizons by Randy Halverson
"If everything's ready here on the Dark Side of the Moon…" A frame from "Horizons" by Randy Halverson.

Photo by Randy Halverson, used by permission

Regular readers may know the work, if not the name, of Randy Halverson. I’ve featured his night-sky photography and time-lapse videos so often on the blog I’ve lost count (but look to the bottom of this post to see links to a few). He has an excellent eye for composition, motion, and detail.

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!  

He’s created a new video, called “Horizons”, and, as usual for him, it’s visually stunning. He has a full-length 31-minute version he’s selling from his website DakotaLapse, and he’s created a teaser trailer to give you a taste of it:


The music for the full-length video is by Simon Wilkinson, but the teaser here has music by none other than Bear McCreary (along with Brendan McCreary and his band Young Beautiful in a Hurry), who wrote the soundtracks for The Walking Dead, Eureka, Defiance, The Sarah Connor Chronicles (which is excellent), and also Europa Report, a movie coming out this summer.

I’m always drawn to what’s in the sky in videos like this; the Milky Way is a favorite, but you can usually pick out bright nebulae (like the Lagoon and Trifid) as well as many other celestial objects.

But in this one, given the name, I kept half an eye on the horizon itself, and became mesmerized by the motion I was seeing; stars, aurorae, tall grass in the breeze, and clouds. Especially the clouds; I’ve seen the full-length movie and the clouds steal the show, especially the storm clouds. Convection cells take on an added might and menace when seen in time-lapse, punching upwards convectively like a fist into the sky, lightning dancing underneath. It’s astonishing.

The full-length version is a half hour of amazing scenes of the accelerated sky. I never get tired of watching them.

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