Click on the picture to see a larger version

This wide angle picture taken on September 14 from Montlaux, France, shows very well how the stars near the celestial Equator trace lines that are almost straight, while the stars at the North and South of the Equator, respectively, appear to draw circles between the celestial North and South poles.
Special mentions for the Stars of Orion (center-right), the brilliant Venus (top left) ascending at the same time that the Sirius star rises South (below center), as well as a polar orbital Iridium satellite (top left).
The beautiful colours in the morning light appear painted along the horizon.
This extraordinary image was built with 477 digital pictures taken 30 seconds apart for approximately 4.3 hours and combined afterwards.

  1. bobbo says:

    So–Gaspar or Bubba have to explain how come the arcs go from convex to concave across the sky?

    ie—how come they change their curve?

    How long was the exposure?

    What is the (planet) in question?

  2. Bob says:

    Sorry… bogus picture. All rotation has to be about a single pole.

  3. bobbo says:

    Well, the caption only says time lapse. Given there appears to be two sunrise/set points==looks like the time lapse skipped at least one daylight period and the camera was turned 180 degrees?–not necessarily but easier if photoshoped.

  4. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    The curve in the upper-left is probably the real rotation. The curve on the right could be lens distortion. I’m showing my age here, but 24mm and wider lenses are going to have that same effect.

  5. bobbo says:

    Well, what about the two sun points?

    and I was wrong about one daylight period. Point the camera West at sundown and wait half the night then turn it around to the East just before sunrise? Should get a picture much like this one?

  6. Gasparrini says:

    I modified the post to include an explanation of the picture. The original source was in another language and I didn’t feel like translating. Seeing how you guys got your panties up in a bunch I forced myself to translate the explanation.
    Hope it helps!

  7. FRAGaLOT says:

    This isn’t time lapse (that implies a video that’s speed up) this is an open exposure. But very pretty!

  8. Say What? says:

    What the hell is the celestial equator?

    Since when was the southern sky visible overhead in France?

    This picture is completely bogus. You’re probably right that it is French though.

  9. Mike says:

    this picture is bogus. it is obviously made in photoshop. the star trails shouldn’t look like bumpy lines. they all should rotate around the north star. check with sky and telescope magazine, they publish authentic photos like this all the time.

  10. John Paradox says:

    This was Saturday’s
    Astronomy Picture of the day, which includes an explanation of the reason the trails ‘don’t look rite’ to the non-science literate.


  11. Jake says:

    Why do so many of you guys have to jump to the conclusion that this picture is fake? Can’t you just appreciate the picture for how pretty and cool it is?

  12. BubbaRay says:

    The picture is a genuine ultra-wide angle open exposure.

    The circumpolar stars of the north are at the proper altitude for France. Some southern circumpolar stars are visible, but the southern pole is not. The most southern stars visible in France are about declination -45 degrees.

    Imagine yourself suspended in the center of a huge spinning beach ball with points painted on the inside of the ball. The rotational poles of the ball are at your left and right, with the left pole elevated about 45 degrees (latitude of France). As the ball rotates around you, this picture is what you would see.

    The light on the horizon to the right appears to be due to skyglow from a neighboring city.

    Note the streak made by the polar orbiting Iridium satellite in the upper left corner.

    Here’s another mind blowing photo of star trails:

  13. hhopper says:

    Any time an unusual photo appears on DU, some idiot will say photoshopped. It never fails.

  14. Mister Catshit says:

    Thanks for the picture gasparrini and the explanation bubba.

    I thought it was cool. And, it you read the post, it was done using 477 separate shots then combined.

  15. BubbaRay says:

    #14, Mr. C, Gasparrini updated the article text after my post. But “stacking” astrophotos is a very cool way to get amazing photos from 10s or 100s of shots, with software available today for even medium-end PCs. Wish I had the funding for a supercomputer — some stacking operations can take hours on a 1.8GHz dual-core with 2Gb ram.


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