Time-lapse: Dark Sky in Canarias.

Time-Lapse: Dramatic Skies Over the Canary Islands

Time-Lapse: Dramatic Skies Over the Canary Islands

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 17 2014 11:15 AM

Dark Sky in Canarias

dark sky canarias
Star trails over a volcanic island.

Photo by Imanol Mujika, from the video

Because why not, here’s a luscious time-lapse animation of the sky over La Palma, Tenerife, and El Hierro, three of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco:

This video was taken by photographer Imanol Mujika. He has a stunning Flickr gallery, too.


I’ve been to La Palma, and the clouds really do roll in like that. I like how you can see them swell and disappear over the city (I think it’s Santa Cruz in the video) like waves on a beach.

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!  

Also, toward the end (at the 1:55 mark), there’s a star trails shot where the long exposure shows the stars as streaks due to Earth’s rotation. Stars on the celestial equator—the part of the sky directly above the Earth’s equator—make straight lines, but toward the right (north) and left (south) they curve more, as they circle the pole. But they curve in opposite directions!

That’s just the natural consequence of the wide-angle shot, being able to see the motions of stars across a big chunk of sky. Near the celestial poles, the stars make smaller circles, so we see the curvature of their trails changing with position. I have a more detailed explanation in an earlier post, if you’re curious (and you should be!).

Seeing this makes me want to get under the stars again ... and now that it's winter, Orion, Taurus, and all the wonderful chilly weather stars are back at a decent time of night. Time to warm up my camera ...