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Thursday, May 6th, 2010
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Aurora Time Lapse

Aurora Borealis, looking north and just above the horizon more or less right at the constellation Cassiopeia from a position to the east of Glasgow, MT. You can also see two satellites tracking through the image, one northwards, one southwards, and a military jet zipping along westward near the bottom of the image, that one is easier to see full-screen. Busy night, eh? Each frame here represents about four seconds; the playback is quite a bit faster than that, so this qualifies as bona-fide time lapse. The clip was constructed from 40 still frames from my EOS50D, taken the evening of the onset of the April 3-4-5-6 geomagnetic storm, all from the same point and with the same camera settings.

How I created the time lapse

I used Canon's 50mm ƒ/1.4 lens, wide open, after manually focusing it on a star. All these shots were taken at ISO 3200, 4 seconds exposure, from a fixed and locked tripod, adjusted and balanced to the same criteria using Aperture 3, then combined using the Mac's movie software and converted from .dv to .mp4 using Handbrake.

...and then, this GIF

The GIF on this page was constructed from the MP4 using an OSX app called "Permute" — it really didn't do a good job. The app's author(s) apparently don't know enough — or anything — about dithering, ordered or otherwise.

So. Here's a link to the original .MP4 which is much nicer to look at.

#aurora #anim

Width: 640
Height: 428

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