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Night skies over Tibet

High above sea level – and far from light pollution – Tibet offers one of the most breathtaking night skies in the world. A collection of photos by Jeff Dai.

Riding the roof of the world.  Everest Base Camp, Tibet, China.  A lone motorcycle wends its way to Mount Everest's Base Camp, approaching from the Chinese side. In this darkening night sky, above the snow- and ice-flanked Himalayas, the yellow-red star Antares at the Scorpion's heart rises at left; to its right the stars of Centaurus shine their blue light over the top of the world. Mount Everest's name is Chomolungma in Tibetan language, often translated as

Riding the roof of the world. A lone motorcycle approaches Mount Everest’s Base Camp from the Chinese side. Above the snow- and ice-flanked Himalayas, the yellow-red star Antares at the Scorpion’s heart rises at left; to its right the stars of Centaurus shine their blue light over the top of the world. Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read more.

Jeff Dai wrote to EarthSky from Tibet:

When I first visited the Tibetan Himalayas last year, the stunning night sky and fantastic experience deeply attracted me. So I decide to live in Lhasa [Tibet’s capital city], and have a plan to capture all the Himalayas including Nepal, Bhutan, India, Pakistan … at night.

The attached are some of my favorite Tibetan images.

Orion rising over Tibet.  Gyirong Valley, Tibet, China. As you know Orion always comes up sideways, But this single deep exposure brings out many sky wonders normally beyond human perception. The red circle across all constellation Orion is Barnard's Loop. The Horsehead nebula is also visible near the famous belt stars, and to the right is the great Orion nebula.

Orion rising over Tibet. Gyirong Valley. As you know, Orion always comes up sideways, but this single deep exposure brings out many sky wonders normally beyond human perception. The red circle is Barnard’s Loop. The Horsehead Nebula is also visible near Orion’s famous Belt stars, and to the right is the great Orion Nebula. Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read more.

Iris by moonlight, from Yamdrok Lake, 4500 meters  (14,700 feet) above sea level, under the rising last quarter moon.  The name Iris is taken from the Greek word for a rainbow.  View larger and read more.

Iris by moonlight, from Yamdrok Lake, 4500 meters (14,700 feet) above sea level, under the rising last quarter moon. The name Iris is taken from the Greek word for a rainbow. Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read more.

Boat of the plateau. Yak is the most common animal throughout the Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau and Mongolia.  It is well adapted to high altitudes and domesticated. In this crystal clear night, moonlight illuminated the landscape of Mount Kailashi’s north face. With the first quarter moon setting in the west, the Milky Way appears more prominently in the starry sky.   Photo by Jeff Dai.  View larger and read more.

Boat of the plateau. Yak is the most common animal throughout the Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau and Mongolia. It is well adapted to high altitudes and domesticated. In this crystal clear night, moonlight illuminated the landscape of Mount Kailashi’s north face. With the first quarter moon setting in the west, the Milky Way appears more prominently in the starry sky. Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read more.

The Image above shows an incredible display of airglow as oberseved at Tibet Plateau of China, 4450 meters above sea level. Airglow is the natural emission from the Earth upper atmosphere in green and red-yellow bands.

Ripples in the sky. The image above shows an incredible display of airglow as observed at Tibet Plateau of China, 4,450 meters (14,500 feet) above sea level. Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read more.

Zodiacal light before dawn  Photo by Jeff Dai.

Zodiacal light before dawn. An unusual triangle of light will be particularly bright near the eastern horizon before sunrise during the autumn months, for early birds in Northern Hemisphere. Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read more.

All sky of Yamdrok Lake, at the break of dawn. The arc of the Milky Way from Sagittarius to Perseus and the cone shape of zodiacal light appear over Yamdrok Lake, Tibet, China.  Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read description.

All sky of Yamdrok Lake, at the break of dawn. The arc of the Milky Way from Sagittarius to Perseus and the cone shape of zodiacal light appear over Yamdrok Lake, Tibet, China. Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read more.

Looking south across the Lake Manasarovar, an unusual moon pillar that dominates the right part of the image. On the left is a flash of lighting appears over Mount Gurla Mandhata(7694m) in the far distance. Just above this pink lightning is the bright central bulge of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius and Scorpius.

Lake Manasarovar at night. Looking south across the lake, an unusual moon pillar that dominates the right part of the image. On the left is a flash of lighting appears over Mount Gurla Mandhata (7,694 meters, or 25,000 feet) in the far distance. Just above this pink lightning is the bright central bulge of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius and Scorpius. Photo by Jeff Dai. View larger and read more.

Bottom line: High above sea level – and far from light pollution – Tibet offers one of the most breathtaking night skies in the world. A collection of photos by Jeff Dai.

Visit Jeff Dai on Facebook

Email: jeffdai1988 [at] gmail.com

Deborah Byrd

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