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What astronomy has to do with our daily life? The advancing force of science is often our curiosity not our needs and you never know the gift it brings back to our society. Studying stars may appear an absurd field to some who believe science should only invest on stopping hunger and diseases. Astronomy and space exploration have elevated our quality of life in many ways. A recent example, released by Royal Astronomical Society in the UK, is how the computer codes developed to study the formation of stars and planets could be applied to fight against breast and skin cancer which involves millions of lives. Science doesn’t work well in isolation. The apparently irrelevant fields often contribute to each other, immensely. ⁣ ⁣Photographed here at dusk is a large telescope in La Palma, Canary Islands, emitting a green laser to detect and resolve atmospheric turbulence on star images, a technique called Adaptive Optics. ⁣ ⁣#science #exploration #astronomy #cancer @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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Far from light pollution, the unrivaled joy of stargazing and photography under a natural dark sky. My friend @rogercraigsmith, renown voice actor and hobby astrophotographer, poses for this single-exposure capture through @sigmaphoto 135mm 1.8 incredibly sharp Art series telephoto lens used at wide open aperture to create the bokeh background with out-of-focus stars. These natural color of stars are much more evident when they become defocused or defused. You are looking at the tail of the constellation Scorpius with two prominent star clusters in the Milky Way band, M7 & M6. This is from last month California Nightscapes workshop, an annual master masterclass I do in the Sierras with @mikeshawphotography. Contact me if you are interested to join next year. #saveournightsky #babakworkshops #stargazing #astrophotography @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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Some scenes are forever-engraved moments in my memory. From the boundless darkness of Sahara when the Milky Way was arching above giant sandstones to the shimmering beauty of Grand Canyon under moonlight, and heavenly curtains of dancing aurora next to the Galaxy in this September night of Iceland. The light of a nearby town shines on the low clouds resembling sunset. The three bright stars of the Summer Triangle are visible along the Milky Way. ⁣ ⁣You can join me in 2020 Aurora PhotoTours in March or September: ⁣babaktafreshi.com/workshop ⁣ ⁣(link in my profile)⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #aurora #milkyway #astrophotography #babakworkshops @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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Swipe left to see the entire view. On this late evening of March 2012 I was waiting for the moon to align with Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, as it was setting over Arc de Triomphe (Etoile). We are so used to the moon presence that often forget its cosmic identity. How bizarre it is to see another world so easily and strikingly in the sky, from 400,000 km away. For a car traveling nonstop at 100km/hr highway speed it takes 6 months to travel the distance. This month 50 years ago Apollo 11 astronauts traveled 4 days in space to accomplish the first ever moon landing on 1969 July 20. #apollo50th #moon #paris #nightphotography  @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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A few more images of Apollo 11 Saturn rocket life-size projection and moon landing film screening on the east face of Washington Monument in DC. The #goforthemoon #Apollo50th anniversary show continues to July20, 9:30-11:30 each night. Photographed on assignment for @natgeo. The projection is organized by @airandspacemuseum partnered with @usinterior and @59_Productions. #NASA #washingtondc

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The 110-meter (363 ft) long Saturn V (five) rocket took the Apollo 11 astronauts to space 50 years ago today on July 16, 1969. Early this morning in the heart of Washington DC the history of space program relived briefly for this photograph of Washington Monument, which is comparable in height to the rocket. The life-size Saturn projection, organized by @airandspacemuseum partnered with @usinterior and @59_Productions, begins tonight and runs through Thursday, July 18, from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. each night. On July 19 and 20, the program continues, with the show “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” projected on the east face of the Washington Monument and adjacent screens. To date, Saturn V is the tallest and most powerful rocket ever operated, with an immense payload capacity of 150 tons. With my career focused on astronomy and space photography, this @natgeo assignment was the perfect opportunity to celebrate this exploration milestone. NASA aims to return to the moon in the next decade, as early as 2024, this time leading a coalition of several nations and private companies. #Apollo50th #NASA #washingtondc #goforthemoon

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Sounds on for one minute trip to the moon, zooming on one of my high resolution telescope photographs. This journey took 4 days for the Apollo 11 astronauts, 50 years ago this month. A tribute to the first human landing on the moon on July 20, 1969 (second slide). I’m on an exciting assignment for @natgeo and @airandspacemuseum in Washington DC for the #Apollo50 anniversary. Soundtrack is by @alirainimusic of Tonelabs Studio. #goforthemoon #moon #apollo #astrophotography  @natgeoimagecollection

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Not the Alps, nor the Smoky Mountains, this is in northern Iran. Last week UNESCO announced 29 new World Heritage Sites and one is Hyrcanian forests, stretching 850 km along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea where the humidity is blocked by massive Alborz mountain range. The unique forests are originated 25 to 50 million years ago but are shrinking fast due to human impact and poor management. Now there is hope with UNESCO designation. The Caspian Tiger once roamed the area, now extinct. Other large mammals here are Persian Leopard, lynx, brown bear, wild boar, wolf, golden jackal, jungle cat, badger, and otter. Photographed in Oct 1999. ⁣ ⁣#hyrcanianforest #worldheritage #dohezar #iran

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Slowly swipe left to see the entire view of this spectacular winter night in southeast Iceland during one of my aurora photo workshops. We were a small group and stunned by this storm-level Kp7 northern lights dancing in the sky. Pleiades star cluster (the Seven Sisters) hangs above a glacier lagoon and an ice-covered volcano in Vatnajokull National Park. The immense wilderness covers 14% of Iceland, making it Europe’s second largest national park. A few days ago UNESCO recognizes the park a World Heritage along with 28 other new sites for 2019. Google “UNESCO new sites” for the complete list (or see my today story). Also great to see these two are recognized: Babylon in Iraq (long-due) and Hyrcanian Forests in Iran which will be featured in my next post. ⁣ ⁣#vatnajökull #iceland #glacier #aurora #northernlights #babakworkshops #worldheritage @twanight

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An iconic Hubble telescope view of Whirlpool Galaxy M51, made from B&W images in 3 filters (RGB). See one of them in the next slide. They look dark and empty but there is a lot of information hidden there to reveal. The image processing was done by my friend @amirrezakamkar for NASA 2019 Astrophoto Challenge. Until July 31 you can try this online on selected @nasa images or take your own astrophoto in the Micro Observatory project. Its fun and easy to try and you will learn a lot. The exposure is limited to one minute, so select brighter targets. Your image will be taken overnight and available to edit the next day. Google “NASA astrophoto” to find the page, linked on my today story. ⁣ ⁣The 3rd slide shows where this famous galaxy is located near the handle of the Big Dipper (little circle mark), some 23 million light years away. You don’t need a large telescope to reveal the galaxy. It begins to resolve even with a 100mm telephoto lens, though tiny (4th slide). Photographed this above Mt Everest, ten years ago in Nepal. A diffuser filter is used on the lens to highlight the constellation. ⁣ ⁣#microobservatory #astrophotography #hubble

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Last night 4th of July fireworks were accompanied with an elegant crescent moon. With some planning I located a spot to align the setting moon with a far display of fireworks in the field of view of a 600mm telephoto lens. The hazy weather made the moon look yellow-orange on the horizon. Enjoy phone wallpaper of these on the today story. ⁣ ⁣#astrophotography #newmoon #fireworks #salemmassachusetts @twanight @natgeoimagecollection

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A few scenes from tonight fireworks in our neighborhood at North Shore Boston, the night before the 4th of July. See more in the story. ⁣ ⁣#lynnmass #boston #newengland #fireworks #4thofjuly

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Surrounded by black volcanic lava formations in northern Iceland a sudden outburst of rapidly moving aurora borealis breaks into this September midnight. I felt like the elements of a Saga story were about to come alive, rocks resembling trolls, stars, and the northern lights. This lava field near the Mývatn Area is left from a volcanic eruption 2300 years ago, long before the first Norsemen explorers arrived to this land. ⁣ ⁣Both of my March & September 2020 Iceland Aurora PhotoTours are just announced. Learn more: babaktafreshi.com/workshop (active link in my profile). ⁣ ⁣#babakworkshops #saveournightsky #aurora #iceland @twanight

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Another photograph of my short visit to Prague. The New Moon and the magnificent World Heritage of Praha on this June 5 evening. ⁣ ⁣#prague #worldheritage #newmoon #twanight @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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Since 2013 I’m doing an annual week-long photo workshop in La Palma, Canary Islands, the stargazing paradise of Europe. The May 2020 edition of Astromaster class and this unique photo-tour is now open to register on babaktafreshi.com/lapalma (link in my profile). ⁣ ⁣Please note we take less than 15 participants. The list fills quickly. If you have attended Astromaster before please comment, love to hear back from you. ⁣ ⁣Photographed here in a single 20 seconds exposure on the edge of La Palma massive caldera at 2300-meter (7500 ft) high is science communicator @saevarhb, a good friend of mine from Iceland. His movement after the soft flash on his face created this ghostly appearance adding a scifi feeling to the image. ⁣ ⁣⁣#saveournightsky #babakworkshops #astrophotography #nightphotography #canaryislands #twanight @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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A long waiting project comes to life. Spent a long time writing and preparing “The World at Night” book which is now ready to pre-order (link in my profil) for release on Oct 1 by @quarto.knows. The English version will be translated to various languages. The large illustrated book includes behind the scene stories and in-depth astronomy information of 200 featured night sky photographs from across the globe by myself and the highly accomplished TWAN team members (twanight.org @twanight). This is the most diverse finely selected collection of such images ever published together. You can also search my name on Amazon to find the book. ⁣ ⁣Contributing photographers include: @oshindzakarian @yuribeletsky @amir.ho.abolfath @bcstartrail @juan_carlos_casado @alxcherney @miguel_claro @amazingskyguy @jeffdaiphoto @alexconu @tahaghouchkanlu @christoph_malin @reiseziel_sterne @vulerulum @luc_perrot @nightskyphotographer @laurent_laveder @los_cielos_de_america @night_sky_photos @ytakasaka @takeishingo @stephane.vetter and more not on IG.

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For billions of stars with planets in our galaxy, there are endless possibilities of other worlds habitable to some sort of life. This singe-exposure photograph of 20 seconds is from a couple of nights ago, far from light pollution in Mono Lake looking at a little island of tufa. These limestone towers are formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals in water. Mono Lake has no outlet and trapped salt made the lake very alkaline and salty. But the lake has an unusually productive ecosystem including a strange bacteria that was deeply analyzed by astrobiologist studying possibility of life in other worlds and extreme conditions. ⁣ ⁣I’m on the last day of the 2019 California Nightscapes photo workshop. Contact me (email in the profile) to be notified of my next programs around the world. ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣#saveournightsky #babakworkshops #twanight #astrophotography @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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A beautiful meteor, last night at moonrise above the otherworldly landscape of Mono Lake, California. On any dark night, a consistent observer may see a meteor every 10-15 minutes on average, specially towards morning. The rate is more at meteor showers. The sporadic meteors like this are formed by random wandering meteoroids, little rocks or ice that enter the earth’s atmosphere at very high speeds, up to 160,000 mph (260,000 km/h). ⁣ ⁣The second night of the 2019 California Nightscapes photo workshop. Learn more about these programs on babaktafreshi.com or contact me (email in the profile) to be notified of the next workshops.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣#saveournightsky #babakworkshops #twanight #astrophotography @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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Last night on June 19 I was standing at the shore of a 10,000 ft (3050 m) high lake in the Sierra Nevada, California. A surreal view was emerging as the rising moon hit the rugged peaks. Photographed here is a long-exposure through a 500mm telephoto lens revealing startrails (Earth rotation). Together with @mikeshawphotography we are ready to launch the 2019 California Nightscapes photo workshop today in Bishop. Learn more about these programs on babaktafreshi.com/workshop or contact me (email in the profile) to be notified of the next workshops.⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #twanight #sierra #astrophotography

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A couple of nights ago in Boston Symphony Hall @thebostonpops to see the LUNA music piece with the backdrop of my moon images and videos. Spectacular performance and beautiful merge of music and science, in relation to the 50th year anniversary of moon landing. It was a great pleasure to contribute to this show and the highly respected Boston Pops (bso.org). The piece was performed for a month but I was traveling and saw the very last show. See more on the highlighted story “Symphony”. The music is Ravel's Daphnis and Chloé, the orchestra conductor is Keith Lockhart. The video is produced by Dick Bartlett & Susan Dangel. #bostonpops #boston #moon #saveournightsky

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There are endless wonders and adventures for those who stay awake to experience the night. Like the explorers of the unseen, stargazers enjoy the view that most people miss while sleeping or spending night under grey star-free skies of the cities. In this pitch black dark night of Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park my colleague @mikeshawphotography was enjoying the moment (swipe left for a closer view). Taking photos of the hidden Earth and shining sky felt beyond technical or artistic joy of photography. It is often a connecting bridge to the entire universe, a connection to our past and origin and to our future and destiny as an intelligent species. ⁣ ⁣I will join Mike again later this month for our joint annual California Nightscapes photo workshop. Learn more about it on babaktafreshi.com/workshop or click my profile link. #saveournightsky #astrophotography #stargazing #twanight @twanight @natgeoimagecollections

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New Moon sets in the sky of Prague in this June 5 evening. On the top of the hill, overlooking the city, is the Prague Castle and its cathedral. I’m on a quick visit to the magnificent World Heritages of Praha (#prague). ⁣ ⁣Enjoy a phone wallpaper of this on my today story. Hold your finger on the image until the icons disappear, then screenshot and save the fullscreen view. ⁣ Photographed with #Sigma135mmart lens. ⁣#worldheritage #newmoon #twanight @natgeoimagecollection @twanight @sigmaphoto

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On a quick visit to Prague. This is an iPhone shot from last evening walking on the iconic Charles Bridge. The city is home to magnificent World Heritages. #prague #worldheritage #czechrepublic

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Nothing like a night under natural starry sky unspoiled by light pollution. I’m at my annual Astromaster class in La Palma, Canary Islands. This photo of me during one of the sessions was photographed by participant @ale.lavatelli from Milan. I have a group of 13 from 8 nations this year. Next Astromaster will be in May 2020. Contact me if you are interested. It will be announced soon on babaktafreshi.com/workshop ⁣ ⁣#babakworkshops #saveournightsky #astromaster #twanight #astrophotography

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The magnificent power of nature. Swipe left to see the rest of this close-up photograph of a thunderstorm seen from the island of Maui. #Hawaii #weather #thunderstorm #nightphotography @natgeoimagecollection

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I’m often asked here about my equipment and occasionally post about them. I hope you find this useful. Very critical to any digital photographer is a fast, reliable, die-hard portable data storage. The memory cards and the hard drive in your camera bag are the treasure keeper and I’m extremely happy with Angelbird @angelbirdmedia SSD drives from Austria. These amazingly compact ultrafast disks (512GB to 4TB) have saved me a lot of time and kept the treasure safe in most extreme conditions. I came to idea of using SSDs when on a trip to observatories in Chilean Andes one of the spinning hard-disk broke due to low air pressure in the high altitude (at 10,000ft or 3000m). That was a painful loss that led me to Angelbird SSDs. I would never risk again using cheaply made regular drives that takes me several times longer to copy files. ⁣ ⁣Photographed here on an imaging expedition in the Atacama Desert is my colleague @yuribeletsky transferring files to @angelbirdmedia SSDs under the glorious southern sky. In the background team member @petrhoralek prepares his camera. ⁣ ⁣#angelbirdmedia

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A Countryside Night. Estimated 55% of human population live in urban areas, where the night is often dominated by our artificial lights and this view of the Milky Way is gone, unless you travel far enough from the light pollution. On this October evening near the White Mountains in New England, three hours north of Boston, the Galaxy was merging out of twilight with the passing clouds lit by yellow sodium streetlights of a nearby town. Learn more about the values of natural night environment and how to preserve it on our new @natgeo web story “Light pollution is getting worse, and Earth is paying the price”. Google natgeo light pollution for the link. ⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #darkskies #lightpollution #newengland #milkyway @natgeoimagecollection @idadarksky @twanight ⁣ ⁣

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Standing on the edge of Wadi Ghul, also known as Oman’s Grand Canyon. On this midnight of March 2016 the moonlight was gently shining on the massive 1000-meter deep feature made by erosion. I was in Jebel Shams area, the highest mountain in the country, where you reach to top of the canyon. #nightphotography #oman #jebelshams #canyon @natgeoimagecollection

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There are endless wonders and adventures for those who stay awake to experience the night. Like the explorers of the unseen, stargazers enjoy the view that most people miss while sleeping or spending nights under grey star-free skies of the cities. Photographed last summer on a high Sierra lake, at 3200 m (10,500 ft) in California. I will return to the area June 20-23 for the annual Nightscapes Photo Workshop with @mikeshawphotography. You are welcome to join. Learn more on babaktafreshi.com/workshop (or follow the link in my profile). ⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #babakworkshops #sierranevada #highsierra @twanight @natgeoimagecollection

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Peace is so fragile. Every single moment of it is a fortune. This is a critical time in the Persian Gulf. The US sends massive firepower to the area to counter Iran. This worries me not only for my family and friends in Iran but for the Middle East and the entire world which is not ready for another needless war. ⁣ ⁣Photographed in 2012, the crescent moon and Venus hang above sunrise colors from the island of Qeshm, a unique UNESCO protected natural area, in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow pass between Iran in the north and UAE and Oman in the south. About 1/5th of the world’s petroleum passes through the strait, making it a very strategic location. The last slide is not from my archive, taken by astronauts on the space station, an amazing moonlit night view of the strait. The military show up in the area is mainly to secure the trade. But what if one side make a simple mistake, an accidental fire. With such a heavy firepower this needs wise leaders to control the situation, which I don’t see in either-side. ⁣ ⁣#persiangulf #straitofhormuz #qeshm #peace

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Swipe left to see this panorama of colorful northern lights above the Atlantic coastline in southwest Iceland. We have one (or possibly two) spots opened on Sep 20-30 Aurora PhotoTour. Email me if you are interested (in my profile). Learn about the program on: babaktafreshi.com/sep19 ⁣ ⁣Next aurora photo workshops will be in March and September 2020, to be announced this month. ⁣ ⁣Aurora season begins when nights are dark enough in the Arctic latitudes. Anytime from early September to April is fine. Once you are in far northern latitudes like Iceland and Scandinavia, northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, there is no particularly favored place for aurora watching. Anywhere with clear sky, relatively clear northern horizon, and away from city light would be good. Pick a moonless night to see fainter aurora when activity is low. Sometimes you have to wait until midnight to see a better display. Check reliable sources like spaceweather.com or auroraforecast.is for aurora activity. #babakworkshops #auroraborealis #northernlights #nightphotography #astrophotography @twanight

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Last few days I was at Texas Star Party to give a talk. Photographed here is a rarely captured phenomenon known as Red Sprite. It has been an atmospheric science puzzle for a long time. These large-scale electrical discharges occur high above thunderstorm clouds and are challenging to capture as they flashes in the sky for a fraction of a second and much fainter than a lightning. The success key to capture the sprites is clear sky and thunderstorm on the horizon at 100-300 km away which was exactly my condition a few nights ago. #redsprites #atmospheric #nightphotography #texasstarparty @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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The last bit of dusk colors over the ocean and moonlight shining on this 2000-meter (6000 ft) high wonderland of La Palma, Canary Islands. Single exposure night photographs like this are very much dependent on timing, understand the ambient light, and the camera’s dynamic range. These full blooming rare giant flowers look otherworldly. They are Echium wildpretii and locally called Tajinaste in Spanish. These 1-3 meters tall plants became almost extinct a few decades ago on this island, by rabbits and human, but now preserved and growing in number. I will return to La Palma May 26 on my annual week-long Astromaster photo workshop during the peak season of these flowers and the rising Milky Way. A medical issue caused one cancellation this week and we have one open spot if someone like to join last-minute. See:⁣ ⁣babaktafreshi.com/lapalma ⁣ ⁣or click profile link and proceed to workshops. ⁣#saveournightsky #babakworkshops #echium #astrophotography #nightphotography #canaryislands @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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Swipe left to see the entire image. The Earth rotation, ever moving the sky above us, naturally paints this 40-minute long exposure (photo sequence) with colorful star trails, reflected on a high Sierra lake in California. I will return to here in June 20-23 for the annual summer workshop on night sky photography and timelapse. You are welcome to join me and @mikeshawphotography in Bishop CA for this concise master class. See:⁣ ⁣babaktafreshi.com/workshop ⁣ ⁣(link in my profile)⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #astrophotography #nightphotography #photographyworkshop @twanight @natgeoimagecollection

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In the remote Racetrack Playa of Death Valley National Park, California, I was standing next to one of the mysterious Sailing Stones, looking up to Sirius, the brightest star of the Earth night sky, and constellation Orion. The faint glow on the horizon is Los Angeles from 190 miles (300 km) away! These moving rocks are a geological phenomenon. They naturally move, up to a mile or two, along this high altitude smooth valley floor on very thin night-time surface ice sheets that are driven by wind. ⁣ ⁣#saveournightsky #deathvalley #twanight @natgeoimagecollection

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Swipe left to see this panorama of Arches National Park in a moonless dark night. It’s easy to become acquainted with the beauty, peace, and silence of a natural night. Although it reminds many of dark colorless eerie environment, night reveals a universe that is disconnected from most of us due to light pollution and city life. Search for “World’s Best Stargazing Sites” on natgeo.com for a @natgeo digital story listing my favorite top 10 dark sky locations around the world. Also available here: babaktafreshi.com/media⁣⁣ ⁣⁣#saveournightsky #utah #nationalparks #astrophotography #milkyway #twanight @natgeoimagecollection

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In the recent months I offered a custom-designed photo book (album), signed to your name and made of your favorite images. It was a pleasure sending this globally to some of you. Learn more: babaktafreshi.com/book⁣ (click the link in my bio) ⁣Select up to 10 photos for the 60-page on-demand book that also includes some of my iconic photographs. ⁣ ⁣For all other print orders see babaktafreshi.com/print

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#EarthDay | Swipe left for the entire view. ⁣ ⁣We are one out of 1 trillion species currently living on Earth, a unique paradise in the harsh space ocean. This is the day that reminds us how fragile is the home planet. ⁣ ⁣In this morning of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Full moon sets at sunrise when hundreds of seabirds flying from their nests in the nearby islands to the city’s seashore. Some of these huge frigatebirds have 2 meters wingspan. ⁣ ⁣#climatechange @natgeoimagecollection @twanight

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A bat flies into to the intense blue beams pointed to the sky. Some consider this art, a symbol, and some know it as identity landmark, but it’s certainly one of the worse examples of light pollution. The intense blue beam of light pointing skyward from the Luxor Hotel is a recognizable Las Vegas sight. But blue wavelengths are among the worst for artificial sky glow: They bounce around and scatter in the atmosphere, brightening the night sky more than warmer-colored counterparts. According to International Dark Sky Association (darksky.org), every year many millions of birds die colliding with needlessly illuminated buildings and millions of other migrating birds are disturbed and confused on their path due to intense lights pointed to the sky or horizon. Being one of the strongest beams of light in the world, the Luxor beam also attracts insects and bats out of their natural habitat. ⁣ ⁣Swipe left to see a closer image of this abstract looking 5-second exposure. Learn more on our new @natgeo feature web story “Light pollution is getting worse, and Earth is paying the price”. Search light pollution on natgeo.com ⁣ ⁣#lightpollution #saveournightsky #lasvegas #twanight @idadarksky @twanight

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Stunning southern hemisphere view of the Milky Way from the 5000 meters (16,000 ft) high ALMA observatory, on Chilean Andes. I visited ALMA several times on assignment for @esoastronomy. Long overnight photography here is not easy with the harsh environment and bone-freezing temperature. This array of 66 movable large radio dishes can work together as a giant single telescope that expands in the area to zoom into an object or clusters in a pack to reveal fainter targets. Using an even much larger radio telescope array, in size of our planet, On April 10 astronomers revealed the first-ever image of a black hole, a breakthrough in science that I’m sure most of you have heard of it. They synched ALMA with several other telescopes across the globe to reveal the black hole in the heart of a massive galaxy some 50 million light years away. Check eventhorizontelescope.org for the image and the project ongoing discoveries. ⁣ ⁣#twanight #science #astronomy #exploration @natgeoimagecollection @twanight ⁣ ⁣

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A 13th century stained glass window, statue, and mural, one of the many elegantly designed spaces in Notre-Dame Cathedral. Swipe to see the photos from my archive, reliving memories of several visits to this unrivaled French heritage. As I write this Paris firefighters finished the race to save the cathedral from ongoing fire. One of the finest examples of Gothic architecture and a symbol to the nation. It survived wars and desecration during the French Revolution in 1790s but now severely damaged. The most visited monument in Paris with about 12 million visitors yearly is more than a cathedral to French. In 1804 it was the site of Coronation of Napoleon I as Emperor of France. #notredame #paris @natgeo

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Painted by nature, and a fishing boat! Spend some moments to read this and explore the various elements in this unusual “real” photograph, a time-exposure full-circle fisheye image of northern lights and star trails above the Atlantic Ocean, photographed on the western coast of Iceland. A passing fishing boat created the trail on the ocean. A meteor and a satellite are also captured in the shot. Star trails, created by the Earth rotation during the half-hour exposure, appear around the north celestial pole, marked by the north star Polaris which stand near overhead in this far north 65 degrees latitude. ⁣ ⁣#twanight #fisheye #auroraborealis #northernlights #longexposure @twanight @natgeoimagecollection

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I very rarely post my daytime or portrait photos here except for occasions like this. Since my March 28 post about Iran disastrous floods, the land I was born and lived for 30 years, the situation has not improved and affected thousands of children and their families who have lost everything specially in Golestan province near Caspian Sea, Lorestan in Zagros Mountains, and Khuzestan in the southwest plain. The US sanctions in one side and awfully poor leadership of Iranian governors on the other side made the situation worse. You can help by sharing the story or donating to organizations which are directly involved in supporting: Moms Against Poverty in the US and the Red Cross in a number of countries across Europe who started sending donations to Iranian Red Crescent (rcs.ir) which is directly active in the field. ⁣ ⁣The beautiful nomad girl of Zagros Mountains in this image is photographed 15 years ago on film, on a road trip to southwest Iran. ⁣ ⁣#iranfloods #lorestan #khuzestan #golestan

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Today our feature story about light pollution is published on @natgeo website. “Our nights are getting brighter, and Earth is paying the price.” The link is in my profile and today story. Special thanks to our author, photo editors, my colleague photographer @oshindzakarian, and @deathvalleynps where some of the story is photographed. Here standing under an ocean of stars in a high altitude vista of Death Valley the glow of Las Vegas is still boldly visible, disturbing the natural night environment from 90 miles away. #saveournightsky #starstruck #deathvalley #lightpollution @natgeoimagecollection @twanight @death_valley_knight

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Long exposure images, revealing star trails, are unique visuals to remind us not only the non-stop rotation of the planet, also the timeless sky above the changing Earth. Interested to learn how to photograph these, join me on a webinar tomorrow April 2 at 1pm ET (10am PT, 5pm GMT). babaktafreshi.com/workshop (or follow my profile link) If you aren’t available for the live presentation, the recorded version will be delivered to all registered participants. We will also answer any question. Organized by Sky&Telescope, the world’s most respected astronomy magazine, I’ve started these webinars 3 years ago. They answer the numerous questions I receive on how to photograph the night sky. #astrophotography #astronomy #nightphotography #longexposure #webinar #twanight #startrails #babakworkshops

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New Moon setting in a red dusk of California. These rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains are known as Minarets, reaching over 12000 ft. I photographed this in August when the wildfires effected most of the area with unusual red-orange twilights due to smoky air. I will return to the area in June for the 2019 California Nightscapes photo workshop. Learn more on babaktafreshi.com/workshop … #twanight #sierranevada #newmoon #astrophotography #nightsky @natgeoimagecollection

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Shiraz, the city of poets, love, and history in Iran was hit by flash floods on March 25 and took at least 21 lives. I’ve been to Shiraz many times. This was a summer evening of 2010 in the tomb of Hafez, one of the most influential Persian poets of all time. Unusual heavy rains in the last few days made flood warning in most of Iran and caused massive damages in Golestan province near the Caspian Sea. #shiraz #iranfloods #hafez

babaktafreshi

A starry night of lake in Dolomites, a spectacular part of Alps in northern Italy. The summer Milky Way appears above Latemar Mountain, with bright star Altair near the top. Yellow sodium light of a town behind the range reflects from the passing clouds. Photographed in 2012. #saveournightsky #nightphotography #astrophotography #milkyway #dolomites #twanight @twanight @natgeoimagecollection

babaktafreshi

My passion to astronomy and night sky merged with archaeology when I was a teenager, due to my best friend Shahrokh Razmjou who is now a leading researcher on Achaemenid empire. Also known as the First Persian Empire it dates back to about 2500 year ago. Here in this moonlit night of Southern Iran near Shiraz and Persepolis, stars of Cassiopeia appear above the cross shaped tombs of these ancient kings which are built into a cliff 60 meters high. Photographed in 2007 … #nightphotography #achaemenid #shiraz #twanight @twanight @natgeoimagecollection

babaktafreshi

A Northern Fulmar flies against the iconic Skogafoss waterfall during my March photo workshop in Iceland. Enjoy a phone wallpaper of this on today story ... #fulmar #birds #waterfall #babakworkshops @natgeoimagecollection