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Night sky of Star Wars’ Tatooine, in Tunisia

Night sky of Star Wars: Star trails with 2 spire like towers in desert landscape.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Makrem Larnaout traveled to the desert outside Nefta, Tunisia, to where Star Wars‘ mock city of Mos Espa on Tatooine still resides. Here, he captured the night sky of Star Wars, including these star trails, on August 11, 2023. Thank you, Makrem!

The night sky of Star Wars

In 1997, the Star Wars franchise came to a desert area near Nefta, in western Tunisia, to construct a village that was meant to look out of this world. Indeed, the town it built was Mos Espa, which is supposed to be located on the planet of Tatooine. In the film, Mos Espa was the home of Anakin Skywalker. In fact, those buildings still stand in the desert today, and tourists are welcome to visit them. You may remember some of the scenery here from Star Wars episodes one and two. That is where they filmed the pod race, marketplace and slave quarters, among other scenes.

Milky Way behind spire with buildings in foreground.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Makrem Larnaout in Tunisia captured this image on August 11, 2023. Makrem wrote: “This experience was like a fusion between reality and dream, and every detail was captured with a quality that exceeded all expectations. As the night progressed, a soft sound of blattering was heard from time to time. This announced the graceful passage of a herd of dromedaries. The desert is a place of spiritual resonance, and this photo captures that spirit in every starburst. It was an exciting challenge to create this image, but the result was worth every moment. I hope this photo transports you to that dream come true, if only for a moment.” Thank you, Makrem!

Makrem’s Star Wars images in a 1-minute video

An astrophotographer’s visit to Tatooine

Astrophotographer Makrem Larnaout journeyed into this desert to capture the Star Wars scenery under the night sky. Makrem wrote:

August 11, 2023, will forever be etched in my memory as a magical night when the cosmos bowed before the Star Wars village. This village, emblematic for all fans of the saga, was the wise choice of George Lucas to bring his epic universe to life. Among the countless planets in the universe, the Tunisian desert has been the setting of choice for the interstellar adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo.

The story began almost half a century ago, in 1976, when the first film in the saga, titled A New Hope (Episode IV), began its cinematic journey in Tatooine. This desert city [Nefta] on the edge of the country hosted the beginning of this intergalactic adventure. The very name of Tatooine evokes with a touch of mischief the reality of a desert city. Just like in the universe of Star Wars.

May the force be with them: Jedi, droids and hyperdrive ships have left their dazzling mark on these 200 kilometers of desert. Especially in the region of Douz, where the night sky has turned into a web of twinkling stars. It reminds all dreamers that the line between reality and fiction can sometimes blur, creating moments of wonder like the one I lived on that starry night in the Star Wars village.

More images from Tatooine/Tunisia

Hooded person standing on hill with Milky Way in background.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Makrem Larnaout in Tunisia captured this image on August 12, 2023. Makrem wrote: “Behold Luke Skywalker, the valiant Jedi, gazing upon the Milky Way with an air of profound contemplation. The twinkling stars resemble the remnants of a thousand stories, while the Force binds him to the universe surrounding him. Beneath the starry heavens, Luke finds solace and connection with the stars that have guided his journey. The expanse of the galaxy only mirrors the expanse of his quest and sacrifice. A poignant reminder that no matter the challenges we face, there remains a mystical tie between us and the infinite.” Thank you, Makrem!
Hooded person going into igloo-like building with Milky Way in background.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Makrem Larnaout in Tunisia captured this image on August 12, 2023. Makrem wrote: “Seizing an incredible opportunity to breathe life into an iconic Star Wars moment, captured through my lens. Luke, poised to cross the threshold of his home, with the breathtaking Milky Way rising majestically in the backdrop. A dazzling Perseid meteor streaks through the sky, guided by a cosmic destiny. This captured instant unveils the magic of Tunisia, the backdrop that served the Star Wars universe. The Lars homestead, rooted in Tatooine’s sands, stood as the Lars family’s haven for 3 generations. A tribute to this cinematic legacy that continues to inspire us. The adventure persists between fiction and reality.” Thank you, Makrem!

An artistic image with the Perseids

Shooting stars emanating from Milky Way with spire and igloo-like buildings in foreground.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Makrem Larnaout in Tunisia took artistic license in capturing this image on August 12, 2023. Markem wrote: “Perseid meteors light up the night sky. The northern Milky Way provided the perfect backdrop. And right there, in the forefront, stood a Star Wars village nestled amidst the Nefta desert.” Thank you, Makrem!

Bottom line: Astrophotographer Makrem Larnaout journeyed to the desert of Tunisia to capture the night sky as seen from a movie set for Star Wars. Enjoy his incredible images here.

September 7, 2023
Today's Image

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