Published December 15, 2023 | Version v1
Video/Audio Open

The Rotating Planet



Second place in the 2023 IAU OAE Astrophotography Contest, category Time-lapses of rotation of Big Dipper or Southern Cross: The Rotating Planet, by Jianfeng Dai.

A cosmic journey unfolds across continents in this time-lapse video which takes second place in the category of Time-lapses of rotation of Big Dipper or Southern Cross. The video captures both iconic constellations from diverse corners of the world. Starting in China, the Big Dipper graces the night sky, a steadfast guide embedded in cultural narratives. Its luminance marks the beginning of this celestial odyssey. The two pointer stars on the end of the Big Dipper point to the North Star (Polaris) which appears to remain stationary as the sky rotates. From Nepal’s lofty peaks, the Big Dipper’s familiarity persists, a reliable fixture in the shifting panorama of the rotating planet. Moving to Chile, the Southern Cross adorns the firmament, emblematic of the southern skies. Frames from Chile showcase this constellation accompanied by the Milky Way Galaxy. In Namibia, a telescope from the H.E.S.S. Observatory appears in the video. Later, nestled beneath sheltering trees, the Big Dipper persists in its celestial prominence, appearing against a canvas of stars. Using varied techniques — fisheye lenses, static cameras, and Earth's movement-tracking — each frame unveils the Cross’s grandeur against diverse landscapes. These sequences — marked by star trails and Earth’s rotation—highlight the enduring presence of the Big Dipper and Southern Cross, bridging cultures and celestial beauty across hemispheres.

Credit: Jianfeng Dai/IAU OAE (CC BY 4.0)