A Dynamic Time-Lapse Visualization of the Sky for an Entire Year

A History of the Sky is an ambitious project by San Francisco-based artist Ken Murphy that aims to create a gigantic mosaic of 365 time-lapse videos of the sky – one for each day of the year.

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.

Currently a work in process, Murphy uses a camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium in San Francisco to capture a photograph of the sky every 10 seconds. The photographs from each day are then combined into a 6-minute time-lapse movie.

Once the project is complete, the 365 time-lapse movies will be combined into a mosaic, with each of the movies playing in parallel. Since the time of day in each movie is the same across all the movies, the viewer is able to see the graduate shifting of sunset and sunrise times.

To get a sneak peek of what the final result will be like, check out this video created with 126 days:

Murphy’s next step is to build a display for the project using a set of HD monitors arranged side by side.

I want viewers to be able to stand back and observe the atmospheric phenomena of an entire year in just a few minutes, or approach the piece to focus on a particular day.

If you’d like to support his efforts, he’s created a project on Kickstarter to raise funds for this display.