Stars in Motion


Stars in Motion

It's been awhile since I started playing with night sky timelapse videos, but finding a way to share them online with better than YouTube quality has been a bit of a stretch. Enter SmugMug and their video galleries which do the job nicely. Below are the first few videos I've put online. You can even get them in Full HD resolution via the SmugMug 'Stars in Motion' gallery.

Clouds and Stars over the Twelve Apostles
Moonrise over Thomson Reservoir
Southern Stars near the highway at Narrandera


The original images are recorded with a Canon 5DII and 24mm f1.4 lens (mk1), shooting continuous 8 sec exposures at ISO3200. You can get very similar results with any DSLR, but a slower lens and/or ISO will require longer exposures (more like 30 secs). Shorter exposures help to make planes and satellites look a little smoother rather than just a flash in one or two exposures. On moonlit nights, you'll need shorter exposures or your images can easily end up over exposed. I've been working with a few friends (Marty and Tom) on timelapse motion control equipment. I have used my Vixen GP-DX astronomical mount for this previously, and just set one axis horizontal. The problem is that it's a bit heavy when you're trying to set up at weird and wonderful locations. My latest incarnation is a nicely priced Bintel Alt-Az mount (from GSO). It has small but solid and smooth continuous worm gears on both axes (most alt-az mounts only have about 20 minutes of slow motion control travel). I hooked up an old stepper motor to the azimuth and it currently rotates at 10-20 degrees per hour. If you want to see awesome timelapse, check out TimeScapes: And they have active forums on everything related: Beware.. this gets addictive..


Wow, fantastic video - I really must get over to visit you guys.
What was the tune? It's very evocative music.

Like the differing cloud movements, and then the Milky Way setting to the West. Very Nice.