History of the sky

Posted to Data Art  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Ken Murphy installed a camera on top of the Exploratorium in San Francisco and set it to take a picture every ten seconds for a year. A History of the Sky is those pictures as a series of time-lapse movies where each day is represented with a grid. So what you see 360 skies at once:

Time-lapse movies are compelling because they give us a glimpse of events that are continually occurring around us, but at a rate normally far too slow to for us to observe directly. A History of the Sky enables the viewer to appreciate the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.

Time-lapse: Yep, still fascinating.

[murphlab via Data Pointed]


  • Super geeky cool. But I’d say the photos were taken a lot more frequently than every 10 minutes – perhaps every 10 seconds.

  • The idea is intriguing but I found myself wanting that puzzle to be assembled by the clouds/fog rather than by time. I found myself only able to concentrate on any one pixel except at sunrise and sunset. That looks like a real fun data set to explore.

  • A year of effort. I was hoping for something more.

  • Absolutely fantastic. Was it just me though or did the sunrises and sunsets not seem to be in a completely smooth “domino effect” from day to day (or frame to frame as shown in the video)?

  • I really wanted to watch this without interruption but couldn’t take the constant buffering both times around. so frustrating, know its not your fault. just venting!!! grrrrrrrrr

  • Neat. I was surprised by the lack of colors (red, oranges, etc.) but I guess that depends on where the camera was pointed. Also, at about 3:09 in row 1, column 5, was that a person?


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