The lack of light pollution at US National Parks makes them fantastic for stargazing, and last weekend a cinematographer captured a stunning timelapse video of a meteor shower over Great Sand Dunes in Colorado.
The anonymous artist (a former law enforcement officer) shared their work on Reddit (opens in new tab), and explained that they didn't use a star tracker, and were just lucky to have also captured the movement of the Milky Way while recording meteors streaking across the sky.
"This was from around midnight to 5AM on Saturday," they wrote. "633 photos taken at 25 second shutter speed in order to accomplish this timelapse!"
The Orionid meteor shower is one of the best known and most reliable meteor showers of the year. According to Royal Museums Greenwich (opens in new tab) (an organization that includes the British Royal Observatory), the Orionids are particularly special, because they are actually pieces of Halley's comet. While the comet itself only passes close to Earth every 75-76 years, the annual meteor shower helps make up for it.
Orionids move fast, leaving fine trains behind them, and the shower takes place in late October each year (peaking around the 21st). They appear for a few days either side of the peak, so if the weather is cloudy on the night itself you'll still have a chance, and they can be seen with the naked eye once your vision has adjusted to the darkness.
As the National Park Service (opens in new tab) explains, Great Sand Dunes is a particularly good site for stargazing thanks to a combination of dry air, little light pollution, and high elevation. To get the best views, use a moon calendar (opens in new tab) to plan your visit for a moonless night so the sky is as dark as possible, or when there's a late moonrise. The Milky Way is most clearly visible during late summer and fall.
For more advice, see our beginner's guide to stargazing.
Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).
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