Mark ‘Indy’ Kochte shot this night sky time-lapse in Joshua Tree National Park in on two separate weekend visits, one in September, one in November during the 2012 Leonid meteor shower.
What’s happening when? Here are Mark’s “Geeky Astro Details.”
The bright star-like object that appears from behind a sky-silhouetted Joshua Tree at 0:15 is Jupiter.
Jupiter also appears at 0:24, 0:38, and rises through the Arch near White Tanks Campground at 0:57.
The shadows that play across the rocks in the Arch sequence are from the moon setting behind the camera.
Venus makes an appearance at 0:50 and rises during the final sequence at 1:38
The star trails at 1:13 were created using StarStax. On the left side of the field of view at 1:19 you’ll note the appearance of a bright shaft of light. That was a minor fireball from the Leonid meteor shower. All the other streaks you see shoot across the field of view are planes.
The final sequence (at 1:28) features a classic instance of Zodiacal Light, the glow you see in the sky as the camera pans from right to left. It was very evident with the naked eye. It took me a while to figure out that it wasn’t light pollution from a distant town (of which there are no light domes in that direction from Joshua Tree), but rather an extremely vivid case of Zodiacal Light. (I have only seen it this bright once since during a trip to New Mexico in 2013)
The lights on the hill from 0:33 to 0:38 are of some night hikers a few miles away from where I was shooting.
You can see Mark’s “Geeky Tech Details” here.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.