Babak Tafreshi@babaktafreshi

National Geographic night sky photographer & explorer | The World at Night founder | Science Journalist | prints, talks, workshops:

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The Grand Canyon in moonlight. Stars in constellation Auriga appear above the high cirrus clouds in this peaceful autumn night back in 2012.
The longest Canyon on Earth, on Arizona-Utah border, ranges in width from 6 to 29 km and attains a depth of ~ 1.6 km (a mile deep). In case you wonder, a free fall to the bottom takes 30-40 seconds! I considered air resistance too.
@natgeo @natgeocreative @natgeotravel @twanight #twanight #nightphotography #astrophotography #longexposure #grandcanyon #arizona #utah

Grand Canyon National Park

The Dancing Queen… Some others see a giant jellyfish in the sky, or a Sufi whirling in Sama meditation! One of the interesting forms of aurora borealis I have photographed in northern Sweden (March 2012).
Find out where I will be next for aurora chasing:
Learn where & when to see the lights on my @natgeo web article “7 Magical Places to View Auroras”. Google aurora natgeo.
@natgeocreative @natgeotravel @twanight #twanight #aurora #auroraborealis #northernlights #longexposure #nightphotography #astrophotography #twanight #sweden #lapland #kiruna #saami

Kiruna, Sweden

Curiosity is one of the main reasons we are different from other species. We explore the universe out of curiosity, not for our immediate physical needs. However in many cases it also changes our daily world with new technology and better understanding of nature.
Here I was at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the Canary island of La Palma, a paradise for stargazing and the location for my annual photography workshop called Astromaster (next in May 2018, The night sky is reflected on a 17-meter mirror of MAGIC telescope which observes gamma rays indirectly (as they are blocked in the atmosphere) by detecting brief flashes of optical light, called Cherenkov light.
@natgeocreative @natgeo @natgeotravel @twanight #astronomy #astrophotography #longexposure #nightphotography #twanight #observatory #science #exploration #lapalma #canaryislands #spain

La Palma Canary Island

Cold but beautiful. A crystal clear moonlit winter night in the Alps near Innsbruck, Austria, on an imaging trip a few years ago with my friend and @twanight colleague @christoph_malin.
Bright star Deneb (Alpha star of Cygnus, the Swan) appears on the left. The young blue-white supergiant is also one of the most luminous stars in the Galaxy, over 100,000 times brighter than the Sun when viewed from the same distance.
@natgeocreative @natgeo @natgeotravel @twanight #astronomy #astrophotography #longexposure #nightphotography #twanight #austria #alps

Tirol, Austria

See one of the year’s best meteor showers on Wednesday night Dec 13-14. The Geminids will be visible from most of the world, slightly favored for northern hemisphere. The peak is expected from midnight to 4 am (local time anywhere) on the 14th with 1 or 2 meteors per minute. Though the show begin from the 13th evening, after 9pm. It’s best to enjoy it in a dark sky away from city light. Learn more on, search for “Geminids 2017” article.
This image was captured in 2009 from Zagros Mountains in Iran with a meteor next to bright star Sirius and constellation Orion. #meteorshower #meteor #geminids #astronomy #stargazing #kenya #nightphotography #longexposure #astrophotography #twanight @natgeo @natgeocreative @natgeotravel @twanight


Today is the 25th anniversary of my first night sky photography on the 1992 Dec 9 exceptionally dark lunar eclipse. It was a total failure which revealed the 14yr old boy in Tehran how challenging, and exciting, is astrophotography. I found a new hobby to release my teenagehood endless energy outdoor in nature, never knew this will be my way of life, taking me to all continents for many sleepless nights under stars.
This was one of those nights a few years ago on Cerro Paranal Observatory in Chile. I’m reaching for stars, exploring one of the darkest skies left on this planet.

@natgeo @natgeocreative @natgeotravel @twanight #twanight #atacamadesert #chile #astronomy #milkyway #stargazer #astrophotography #longexposure #nightphotography


The 12 Apostles rocks on the coast of Victoria, Australia. On this moonlit evening, the dazzling Venus is at top with Jupiter below it. These are the two brightest planets in the Earth sky. Those with detective eyes see a strange “<“ shape object at top-center! This is comet Comet PanSTARRS (C/2014 Q1) back in July 2015. We have one of these naked-eye comets every year or so while they visit the inner Solar System. The “Great Comets” are rare, once a decade in average.
Continuing with faces in nature, how many of them do you recognize here? An example of Pareidolia, when our brain detect faces in irrelevant contexts such as rocks. Neuroscience can explain it today. The need of face-detection in human society has solely developed a part of our brain.
@natgeocreative @natgeo @natgeotravel @twanight #twanight #comet #nightsky #astrophotography #nightphotography #longexposure #astronomy #venus #jupiter #australia #victoria #greatoceanroad #12apostles

12 Apostles Great Ocean Road

The face! An iconic mountain in southeastern Iran, near the border of Pakistan, that resembles a face profile, also known as Rokhe Shah or king’s face. To me he is an avid stargazer, keep looking up for millions of years!
I photographed this exactly 10 years ago in December. Being near the border the area has intense night-time security against illegal trafficking (and wandering astrophotographers!). @natgeo @natgeocreative @natgeotravel @twanight #twanight #longexposure #nightphotography #mountains #baluchestan #iran

Khash, Sistan Va Baluchestan, Iran

A winter night in a traditional Sami village near Kiruna in Swedish Lapland. The aurora dancing above me and my colleague @nightskyphotographer all the sudden resembled a giant bat and a moment later became an eagle. Seeing these patterns you understand why some northern cultures called them the dancing spirits and departed souls (as Sami people called them). Wonder where and when to see the lights, see my @natgeo web article “7 Magical Places to View Auroras”. Google aurora natgeo. Or join me in Iceland in March or September 2018 if you are interested in photo workshops:
#aurora #auroraborealis #northernlights #longexposure #nightphotography #astrophotography #twanight #sweden #lapland #kiruna #saami @natgeocreative

Kiruna, Sweden

The symbol of life on this planet. Earth has been home to trees for 385 million years, long enough for the Sun (and planets) to travel around the Galaxy almost twice!
Here in a peaceful night of Australia, back in July 2015 I was imaging the Milky Way setting over Eucalyptus trees and faraway city lights. Bright star Altair is in the center.
@natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative @twanight #twanight #australia #newsouthwales #parkesnsw #lifeonearth #nightsky #milkyway #astrophotography #longexposure #nightphotography #darksky

Parkes, New South Wales

Swipe left to see this 3-part panorama. See the entire image on the 4th slide. The Grand Canyon offers extremely dramatic scenes when you catch the right time and light. This after sunset view from west (pic 1) to east (3) has captured the yellow-red light of early twilight illuminating the canyon on the right, and the blue-purple color of the rising Earth shadow on the right, at the opposite horizon (east). On the right (3) an extinct volcano is located near the edge.
At 446 km long the Grand Canyon on the Arizona-Utah border is the longest canyon on Earth (not the deepest), a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River steadily in several million years time span. Google “dreamview 102813” to see a larger view of the entire panorama on my website.
@natgeo @natgeocreative @natgeotravel #panorama #twilight #bluehour #dusk #atmosheric #grandcanyon #arizona

Grand Canyon National Park

The Full Moon rising above the Boston light, located on an island 9 miles (14km) offshore Boston. Enjoy the full moon this evening and tomorrow. The Sunday moon is also the year’s only supermoon as the full moon comes close enough to Earth (222,443 miles or 357,987 km). But don’t be fooled with this exciting term! Supermoons are just less than 14% larger than an average full moon, not even noticeable by most observers. The reason behind our experience of seeing huge moon rising is the so-called Moon Illusion, a beautiful perception made in our brain with objects celestial objects on the horizon specially when seen with an Earthly familiar foreground. If you photograph the moon on the horizon and up in the sky, they are at the same size.
A supermoon may also bring the largest tides of the year. But this gravitational pull is far less effective than the force needed to trigger massive earthquakes, flooding, or volcanic eruptions. So there is no proven relation between these. Search “what is a supermoon” on for an interesting article. S&T is internationally the most respected astronomy magazine (since 1941), based in Cambridge MA, and I’m a regular contributor to it.
@natgeo @natgeocreative @natgeotravel @twanight #twanight #fullmoon #supermoon #astrophotography #nightphotography #boston #bostonlight #massachusetts #newengland

Boston Light