At the top of the tallest volcanic mountains on Hawaii are the world’s premier telescopes. They are here because the air is calm and dry, high above the clouds and turbulence of lower elevations. The tradeoff is cold and snow, a small price to pay for the chance to explore the secrets of the universe.
The rosy glow of scattered twilight in the East is known as the “Belt of Venus”, which rides above the deep blue of Earth’s shadow on the sky. Here it is witnessed from the vantage of Hawaii’s tallest peak, Mauna Kea, as the world’s premier telescopes prepare for another evening of peering into the universe.
We are guests on the river boat Omar El Kayan, named after an Arab poet, visiting the areas of Egypt where Lake Nasser, created by the Aswan dam has submerged the ancient temples along the former banks of the Nile river. Abu Simbel was the most famous, but there were others, and we visited the sites where they had been carefully relocated.
At the end of a hot day navigating the lake, the boat moored. The wind and water were calm and the sky was dark on this section of the Nile. Out of curiosity I made a series of exposures hoping to capture the feeling of stars above the famous river and the desert around me. But calm water does not mean motionless water, and the camera recorded the small wave motions rocking the boat on which I was a passenger for the night.
During this 8-second exposure, a train enters the view, its headlight illuminating the landscape. The train adds its own trails of light, including the arcs of its electrical contact with the overhead wire.
As ribbons of northern light drift above us, another aurora photographer arranges her next shot. The technique is not difficult and the results on the small camera screen reveal colors and textures beyond what we could see ourselves directly.
A safari in Tanzania takes one just south of the Earth’s equator. Here there is no visible North Star; it resides just below the horizon, obscured by the acacia trees and grasses of the Serengeti plain. A startrail image reveals its implicit location; the arcs to the north are perfect semicircles.