Henbury Meteorite Craters: Panoramic Astrophotography
Henbury Crater 360º panorama – click and drag to look around
On a recent trip to the Northern Territory (shooting fulldome timelapse astrophotography for a client) I took a little detour to the Henbury Meteorites Craters. We had been told there was something that may be of interest there (I have to confess complete ignorance of the site, until we arrived) – and sure enough – it’s fascinating. Some interesting information here (wikipedia) and a detailed geophysical study here (USGS pdf). Naturally, Australian Aboriginal oral traditions have also recorded stories – and perhaps even eyewitness accounts – of these remarkable structures and their origins (pdf). They seem to have formed between 4000 – 10,000 years ago, depending upon the sources you read.
It was stinking hot – around 46C – so Chris (our time-lapse moco system engineer and operator) and I sat out part of the day inside the aircon in the 4WD, before setting up camp. Finally, blissful night fell and the heat ebbed away, the flies finally retreating to wherever flies go at night. And the magnificent vista of clear sky, the Milky Way, Moon and several planets (Venus, Mars and Saturn) stretched across the endless sky, a stillness punctuated by night insects. The sense of this remote and ancient landscape is very powerful – a desolate terrain (Neoproterozoic shales and thin sandstones covered by a veneer of pediment gravels) with that sense of deep time, punctuated by an explosive cosmic event.
I wonder if any human eyes were there to witness it? It does seem like a distinct possibility.
Oddly enough enough the name Henbury is meaningful to me – it was the name of my primary school in Bristol U.K., many moons ago. So it was quite odd and striking to find it out here in the remote outback of the Northern Territory.
I have a few more panoramic shots and an interesting experiment in photogrammetric reconstruction I’m working on – so I’ll post some more when I have an update.