The Stars of Mercator

Original version (1.38 GB) can be downloaded from here.

Time lapse movie showing the night sky and the scenes before and after an observing night at the Mercator Telescope situated on the island of La Palma among several other astronomical instruments of the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

Some interesting things to be noticed:
Geosynchronous satellites visible as “standing still stars” in front of the “rotating background” of real stars, disappearing one-by-one starting from the bottom left corner as entering Earth’s shadow at 01:15 (only in 1080p size).
-Full Lunar halo at 01:33.
-Slightly visible zodiacal light at 01:04 (it is only slightly visible because of the strong moonlight, which lights up several night-time scenes later too).
-Frequently seen other telescopes are the robotic Liverpool Telescope and the Isac Newton Telescope.
-Venus (it is a planet indeed, but looks like a very bright star) can be seen setting above the horizon at 00:48 and 01:00 (Mercury is also visible to the lower right at 01:02).
-Several satellites, but also some meteors can be seen (e.g., at 02:35).
-Shadow cast by the mountain at sunrise can be seen on the clouds at 03:43.
-The last morning dawn scene was shot from the Roque de los Muchachos, which is the highest point of La Palma, 2423 m ASL.

Created from ~5000 individual photographs taken with a Canon EOS 7D + a Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens (usually set at 15 mm and wide open for the night-time shots). Original cuts were rendered in Photoshop CS4, then the movie was cut together in iMovie (this degraded the final quality slightly during compression).

Music: Utopia by Goldfrapp, © 2010 Mute Records Ltd.

Inspired by Daniel López.

10 thoughts on “The Stars of Mercator

  1. Valery and Jurgen

    Hey Péter,

    Jurgen and I just gazed with amazement at your movie again, we think it’s really a nice advertisement for people who think they will not like observing, or that it is only a learnfull experience.

    Looking at this movie, even I would want to go back there, and that’s a great achievement!

    See you soon again!

    ps, remove the ‘Milyen nap van most?’ ThinG!!!! :) I had to use google translate to make a post!

  2. Péter I. Pápics Post author


    (Ps.: I thought the “Milyen nap van most” thing was also there in English, but it seems like when I last automatically updated the plugin, it overwrote my modifications, so thanks for telling me, I will modify it.)

  3. Molnár László

    Nagyon jó lett! Mondjuk nekem szinte biztos, hogy valami film vagy sorozat menne a laptopon észlelés alatt egész éjjel, esetleg szerkesztőfelület. :D

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