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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Time-Lapse: Everest

By Phil Plait

Iâve been poking around the web lately looking at one time-lapse video after another, and I swear, the list of amazing work grows as fast as I can watch them. As I mentioned before, itâs getting to the point where the viewpoint taken by the photographer needs to be uniqueâweâre not wowed by just stars rising and setting anymore. The location, the angles, the lighting, the subject, the music: It all plays in to the experience.

Given all that, you must watch this: âEverestâ. Yes, as in Mt. Everest. This is extraordinary.

Breath-taking! [Haha!] I live at an elevation of 1700 meters, and Iâve been up as high as 3700, where the air is thin enough (about 2/3 pressure as at sea level) that just moving around for some people is difficult. Photographer Elia Saikaly went up to 8000 meters to shoot that video, staying awake into the night while other, more sane climbers, were sleeping. At that height, air pressure is a mere one-third what it is at sea level, and climbers, not surprisingly, call it the âdeath zoneâ.

Read Saikalyâs account of his travels to scale Everest. Itâs harrowing, and amazing, and wonderful. Climbing such mountains is incredibly dangerous, and some people undertake it foolishly. But the ones who prepare, study, practice, and understand what they are doing: I salute them. The spirit it takes to explore is an astonishing thing, and Iâm glad so many possess it.

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