Watch the Earth Rotate in this Milky Way Time-lapse

Time-lapses of the night sky are a popular feature these days, with the stars gliding above in hypnotically beautiful fashion. But as you probably know, the movement we see is the Earth rotating on its axis – making the traditional night sky time-lapse somewhat of an illusion.

However, astrophotographer Aryeh Niernberg has created this unusual yet fascinating time-lapse that depicts Earth’s rotation. The video begins in a peaceful green field, with only a handful of trees and telephone poles to break up the starry brilliance above. At the centre is the colourful strength of our Milky Way, shimmering with colourful abandon as the camera begins to move.

By staying fixed on the Milky Way, it is not the night sky which begins to shift but the ground instead, as the horizon begins to tilt. As it tilts to a near 90-degree angle, we see shooting stars and satellites zip by in streaks of hot blues and reds.  Defying our everyday perception of life on Earth, the short video is a mind-bending journey that embodies the experience of being a planetary body.

To create the 4K time-lapse, Nirenberg had to shoot around 1,100 exposures at 10 seconds each. Captured using an astro-modified Sony a7SII with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, the images were taken at 12-second intervals. With an aperture of f/2.8 and ISO 1600, Nirenberg was able to make the most of the low light conditions.

Nirenberg’s work takes him all over North America, photographing starscapes in picturesque locations such as the Rocky Mountains, Arizona, and Florida. His amazing photography isn’t just limited to sweeping landscapes – he also does some telescope-based imaging. For example, Nirenberg recently captured the International Space Station passing in front of the sun at 27,600 km/h!

For more, visit Nirenberg’s Instagram and YouTube channel.


Ed Carr is a Yorkshire-born landscape photographer and nature writer. Having spent his youth in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, he takes any opportunity to don his hiking boots and head out, camera in hand. When not out taking pictures or hastily scribbling down his thoughts, Ed’s halfway up a hill out chasing after his dog, Hendrix.