Not a celestial ad for Mickey D’s, just a rare conjunction of two familiar arcs in Scandinavia’s night sky. To wit:
Perhaps the more familiar one, on the left, is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. This grand disk of stars and nebulas here appears to encircle much of the southern sky. Visible below the stellar arch is the rusty-orange planet Mars and the extended Andromeda galaxy. For a few minutes during this cold arctic night, a second giant arch appeared to the right, encircling part of the northern sky: an aurora. Auroras are much closer than stars as they are composed of glowing air high in Earth’s atmosphere. Visible outside the green auroral arch is the group of stars popularly known as the Big Dipper. The featured digital composite of 18 images was captured in mid-December over the Lofoten Islands in Norway.
(Image: Giulio Cobianchi)
Behold: the stars at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy imaged by the Dark Energy Camera at the Cerro Tololo observatory in Chile.
The first image, while vast, shows a mere 10 million of the estimated 100-400 billion stars of the Milky Way, which is only one one of an estimated 2 trillion galaxies in the Universe.
Have your melon properly twisted by the full sized zoomable version here.
A serene image captured last month at Dover, Nova Scotia. To wit:
The Old Astronomer’s Milky Way arcs through this peaceful northern sky. Against faint, diffuse starlight you can follow dark rifts of interstellar dust clouds stretching from the galaxy’s core. They lead toward bright star Antares at the right, almost due south above the horizon. The brightest beacon in the twilight is Jupiter, though. From the camera’s perspective it seems to hang from the limb of a tree framing the foreground, an apple tree of course.
(Image: Kristine Richer)
Behold: the central band of the Milky Way reflected in a lake beneath the dark sky of Southern Australia last month. To wit:
Toward the right were both the Small (SMC) and Large (LMC) Magellanic Clouds, satellite galaxies of our Milky Way. Faint multicolored bands of airglow fanned across the night. Numerous bright stars were visible including Antares, while the bright planet Jupiter appears just above the image center. The featured image is a composite of exposures all taken from the same camera and from the same location within 30 minutes in mid-May from the shore of Lake Bonney Riverland in South Australia. Dead trees that extend from the lake were captured not only in silhouette, but reflection, while lights from the small town of Barmera were visible across the lake. In July, Jupiter and Saturn will rise toward the east just as the Sun sets in the west.
(Image: Will Godward)
A spectacular view of the tallest mountains on Earth, topped by the Milky Way. To wit:
Visible above the snow-capped mountains in the featured image is the arcing central band of our home galaxy. The bright spot just above the central plane is the planet Jupiter, while the brightest orange spot on the upper right is the star Antares. The astrophotographer braved below-zero temperatures at nearly 4,000-meters altitude to take the photographs that compose this image. The featured picture is a composite of eight exposures taken with same camera and from the same location over three hours, just after sunset, in 2019 April, from near Bimtang Lake in Nepal. Over much of planet Earth, the planets Mercury (faint) and Venus (bright) will be visible this week after sunset.
(Image: Tomas Havel)
Maybe a little, but that’s not what’s happening here. To wit:
The featured 27-frame mosaic was taken last July from Ojas de Salar in the Atacama Desert of Chile. The eye is actually a small lagoon captured reflecting the dark night sky as the Milky Way Galaxy arched overhead. The seemingly smooth band of the Milky Way is really composed of billions of stars, but decorated with filaments of light-absorbing dust and red-glowing nebulas. Additionally, both Jupiter (slightly left the galactic arch) and Saturn (slightly to the right) are visible. The lights of small towns dot the unusual vertical horizon. The rocky terrain around the lagoon appears to some more like the surface of Mars than our Earth.
(Image: Miguel Claro (TWAN, Dark Sky Alqueva))
Behold: the centre of the Milky Way galaxy – 26,000 light years from us toward the constellation of Sagittarius, glowing with every type of light we can see, and a few we can’t. To wit:
In the featured image, high-energy X-ray emission captured by NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory appears in green and blue, while low-energy radio emission captured by SARAO‘s ground-based MeerKAT telescope array is coloured red. Just on the right of the colourful central region lies Sagittarius A (Sag A), a strong radio source that coincides with Sag A*, our Galaxy’s central supermassive black hole. Hot gas surrounds Sag A, as well as a series of parallel radio filaments known as the Arc, seen just left of the image center. Numerous unusual single radio filaments are visible around the image. Many stars orbit in and around Sag A, as well as numerous small black holes and dense stellar cores known as neutron stars and white dwarfs. The Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole is currently being imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope.
(Image: X-Ray: NASA, CXC, UMass, D. Wang et al.; Radio: NRF, SARAO, MeerKAT)
A dramatic composite of two shots taken from the same location inside the Grand Canyon, one hour apart. To wit:
The two images were taken last August from the 220 Mile Canyon campsite on the Colorado River, Arizona, USA. The peaks glow red because they were lit by an unusually red sunset. Later, high above, the band of the Milky Way Galaxy angled dramatically down, filled with stars, nebula, and dark clouds of dust. To the Milky Way’s left is the planet Saturn, while to the right is the brighter Jupiter. Although Jupiter and Saturn are now hard to see, Venus will be visible and quite bright to the west in clear skies, just after sunset, for the next two months.
(Image: Robert Q. Fugate)
What is this? The Milky Way evaporating from the surface of a lake? No. What are you, insane? To wit:
The pool of vivid blue water, about 10 meters across, is known as Silex Spring and is located in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA. Steam rises off the spring, heated by a magma chamber deep underneath known as the Yellowstone hotspot. The steam blurs the image of Jupiter, making it seem unusually large. Unrelated and far in the distance, the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy rises high overhead, a band lit by billions of stars. The featured picture is a 3-image panorama taken last August.
(Image: Lori Jacobs)
August is a good time of the year to see Jupiter. Just after sunset, it’s the brightest object in its section of the south-eastern sky. So what’s going on here, then?
The featured image was taken about a month ago from the Persian Gulf. The image shows Jupiter just to the right of the nearly vertical band of the central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy. The unnamed rock formations appear in projection like the jaws of a giant monster ready to engulf the Jovian giant. When you see Jupiter, it may be interesting to know that NASA’s robotic Juno spacecraft is simultaneously visiting and studying the giant planet. Saturn is also visible this month, and although it is ‘nearby’ Jupiter, it is not as bright.
(Image: Mohammad S. Hayati)