How do you capture half a year’s worth of sunlight in a container the size of a soda can?
From December to June, 2011, about 100 of the little no-lens cameras – indeed, constructed from beer and soda cans – recorded every passage of the solar body through the sky on a layer of film or photographic paper. The resulting “solargraphs” present an unusual and distinctly eldritch look at the sun-kissed spring in the Netherlands, which the observatory says was sunnier than southern Spain this year. (Full gallery.)
Here’s how to interpret these weird images: Each arc represents the line the sun burned across the heavens on one day. The lowest lines are from winter and the highest are from spring – the top line was made just days ago, on June 19. Gaps in the solar rainbow show where clouds obscured the sun that day.
Photographer Slawomir Decyk claims to have invented the solarigraphic process a decade ago with two other inventors. You can see some of Decyk’s amazing work here, or learn how to make your own pinhole camera in this PDF guide or at Kodak’s website. (Props to Spaceweather.com for putting all the observatory’s solargraphs together in one gnarly image.)