A stunning new time-lapse video shows off the tireless movement of radio astronomy facilities used to search for aliens across the universe.
Telescope dishes swivel and clouds and stars rush by in the video, which is called "Dishdance" and was produced in part to help document the effects of light pollution. The video focuses on SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and facilities either currently or previously used by that organization. The time lapse is a part of the Skyglow project, a campaign to raise awareness of light pollution helmed by the astrophotographers Harun Mehmedinovic and Gavin Heffernan. You can view the new video here.
Facilities featured in the video include the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array near Socorro, New Mexico; Owens Valley Radio Observatory in Owens Valley, California; and Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
"The large radio telescope at Green Bank is where scientists first attempted to 'listen' to [the] presence of extraterrestrials in the galaxy," the team wrote in the video's description.
"Very Large Array was featured in the movie 'Contact' (1997), while Owens Observatory was featured in 'The Arrival' (1996)," they added. "The huge meteorite streaking across the sky above Very Large Array (2:40) is from the Aquarids meteor shower."
So far, the project has raised more than $75,000 to create an astrophotography book and time-lapse video "exploring North America's starscapes and the growing threat of light pollution," the website states.
If backers bring the total up to $100,000 by February 2016, the team plans to print 2,000 additional books to give to schoolchildren and organizations in light-polluted areas of North America.
That stretch goal is important, the group wrote on its website, "so the youth of today can see the magic of the night skies and the need to protect them for all future generations."