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August 29, 2011

The Night Sky in Australia


An Australian astronomer spent 18 months photographing the night sky with an ordinary digital camera, turning thousands of pictures into a stunning time-lapse video.

This image shows star trails above Elephant Rock on the Mornington Peninsula in South Victoria.

Alex Cherney took advantage of the lack of light pollution from a remote peninsula on the south coast of Australia to record the dazzling scenes, showing how the sky changes at night.

The pictures show planets, shooting stars, the Milky Way, the Moon, satellites and planes as well as rolling clouds, changing tides and passing ships on the horizon.
Cherney, an IT consultant, spent six separate nights over 18 months shooting the sky — each with a new or crescent moon to ensure minimum interference from light.
His spectacular images were then edited into a two-and-a-half minute video.
"It was my daughter who got me into astronomy," the 36-year-old father-of-two from Melbourne told the Daily Mail. "She came home from school with a project and asked if we could find aliens, so we went along to a local astronomy club.
"So much of our sky is disappearing due to excessive light pollution. Most people in developed countries wouldn't see anything like this when they look up."
"In Australia we're fortunate in that we don't have to go far to get away from the city lights, and I hope my pictures will help other people realize what's really out there. For this, I went out whenever there was a new moon and good weather — six nights over the course of 18 months.
An amazing photo taken from the southern tip of Australia shows a meteorite near the Milky Way.

"I set my camera up to take a sequence of pictures, with each exposure of 30 seconds. I took around 1,000 pictures a night, and then I put them together to demonstrate how the sky moves in relation to our position on Earth."

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