The Aurora Graces Death Valley With Its Majestic Beauty, in Timelapse

By Rebecca J. Rosen

For three days and two nights in the middle of March, a team of five "starchasers" camped out in the remote wilderness of Death Valley National Park as their cameras snapped up long shots of the night sky. The result is the gorgeous video above. "No special effects used, just the natural rotation of the earth's axis," the team explains.

The video showcases their first try at some new techniques, including "moonpainting the foreground" (0:53--1:20) and something they are calling "STARSCRAPING," which combines regular timelapse footage with star trails to much dramatic effect. You can see that series begin around 1:08. The star trail shots were shot with 25-second exposures. An aurora (very far south for an aurora, but not unheard of) appears at 1:36 and 2:22 (you can see a more northern view of that March 17 aurora here).

Curious about how they made the movie? Fortunately one member of the team also made a behind-the-scenes account of how it all came together:

A few stills from their adventure:

dlapse2still8.jpg Gavin Heffernan

 

dlapse2still12.jpg Gavin Heffernan

 

dlapse2still9.jpg Gavin Heffernan

 

dlapse2still6.jpg Gavin Heffernan

The crew:

dlapse2bts11.jpg John Brookins

For more work by Sunchaser Pictures, visit http://www.sunchaserpictures.com/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/04/the-aurora-graces-death-valley-with-its-majestic-beauty-in-timelapse/275388/