Beautiful Time-Lapse Video of the Milky Way and the Mauna Kea Observatories

The sky and the heavens always present themselves as a bundle of wonder. Since the beginning of time, we have been fascinated by everything celestial and have been mesmerized by its splendor. Photographer Sean Goebel is one such stargazer, but who took things a step further. While enrolled at the University of Hawaii as an astronomy graduate student, Goebel took the occasion to produce a breathtaking time-lapse video of the amazing night sky over the Mauna Kea Observatories.

mauna kea

Goebel claims the location is one of the best, being “the premiere site for astronomy in the Northern Hemisphere,” mostly because of its dark skies, low humidity and the fact that it is situated above most of the water vapor in the atmosphere. All these factors would overcome the challenges faced from an altitude of 14,000 ft, and would prove the place to be the finest in the Northern Hemisphere.

mauna kea laser

The video includes a sequence of 7 nights, showcasing the scientific infrastructure complete with astronomical telescopes and potent lasers that are beamed out into the sky for space study.

mauna kea star trails

Goebel elaborated on the process he underwent.

“A typical scene took about 5 hours to film (300 1-minute exposures), and I had two cameras, so I could generally film two scenes per night. I had one chance to get it right, and mistakes were far more likely at 14,000 ft (4200 m). The temperatures were generally around freezing, and there often were high winds. We typically spent the first several hours per night driving around and setting up cameras. For the middle of the night, when the cameras were running, we typically took refuge inside JCMT [James Clerk Maxwell Telescope]. I know the JCMT operators from my observing trips, and they extremely generously allowed me come into the telescope to warm up and raid their hot chocolate supplies. After three or four hours of freezing in the howling winds outside, this was basically the best thing ever.”

mauna kea clouds

The result is this amazing time-lapse video shot over Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Observatories featuring the gigantic telescopes and powerful lasers.

lasers of mauna kea

View the Milky Way Galaxy in a manner like never before here.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.