Sunset and Moonset Time Lapse Videos

July 30th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

With the record cool (and dry) weather here in north Alabama, I decided to try some time lapse video of the setting crescent moon.

The first video, from two evenings ago, has both sunset and moonset (on the left side)…click on the full-screen icon to see in highest definition:

The second, from last night, shows the crescent moon setting behind the Saturn V rocket at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, 7 miles away:

Both taken with a Canon 6D, 85mm f/1.2 lens (first video) and 200mm f/2.8 lens w/2X extender (2nd video).

19 Responses to “Sunset and Moonset Time Lapse Videos”

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  1. Massimo PORZIO says:

    Hi Dr. Spencer,

    as always, very impressive.

    Just a question, are those views from your home?

    Anyways, very nice time lapses.

    Have a great day.


    • The sunset video is from a few miles south of my home, from an overlook on Cecil Ashburn drive.

      The moonset by the rocket is from an undeveloped lot about a half mile down my street…I was lucky that it lined up because there are so many trees here that it’s hard to find an unobstructed view of the horizon.

  2. Noman says:

    I have been to the museum with the Saturn V display.

    I like your work on time lapse. Hopefully you will keep your passion for this art form.

  3. David L. Hagen says:

    Beautiful. For the best description, see:
    Sunsets, twilights, and evening skies.
    Aden & Marjorie Meinel.

  4. darrylb says:

    Impressive that you appreciate gifts of value to us.

    My wife and I took our two oldest grandsons on an Alaskan cruise recently. Pictures at sunrise (3:00 AM) over glacial mountains were stunning. Panoramic color scape!

  5. Christopher Game says:

    I didn’t see the famous green flash. I have a friend who claims to have seen it over the sea. I think I have seen it in movies in the past. Will someone enlighten me?

    • the green flash is rare. I’ve never seen it.

    • Milton Hathaway says:

      I’ve seen the green flash exactly once in my life, at sunset on a Pacific Ocean beach. Until then I was skeptical, but continued to quietly watch for it, many times over the course of many years. Most of those observation attempts were on the same beach, so I can’t argue that it’s not pretty rare.

      I expected subtle, but subtle it was not. It was an intense emerald green flash. A second before I saw it, I said “look at the sun” to several people with me, and then heard in response “what the heck was that?”, and then I explained. So I don’t think it was an illusion – they had never heard of it. (My explanation was rewarded with an indifferent “Huh – interesting, I guess”.)

      Anyway, I spent some time looking at most all the YouTube videos I could find that claimed to capture the green flash, hoping I could post a pointer to the best one. I don’t believe any of them actually did, at least nothing remotely like I saw. What those videos showed looked more like what I saw over those many years when I decided I hadn’t really seen anything. (Judging by the background noises, many of those YouTube’d ‘sitings’ were alcohol-enhanced.)

  6. jimc says:

    Must take some doing (ephemeris, coordinate transformations, finding true north, etc.) to get the camera set up to capture both events in one shot. But worth it.

  7. coturnix says:

    I was desperately looking for a saturn in the picture for a whole minute until I understood that “saturn” was a the name of the rocket. lmao.

  8. geran says:

    Thanks for sharing. It inspires me to get back in to photography. (Now 25 years out of the hobby, but that can be fixed.)

  9. Ray says:

    Both videos are blank to me.
    Any idea why?

  10. Windy says:

    I call your time lapse crescent moon and up the ante to the full moon in real time, including seagulls!

  11. Windy says:

    Holy macaroni-I didn’t realize it is almost exactly two years to the day that was taken!

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