Tag Archives: Milky Way

Astrophysicist Natasha Hurley-Walker marked the position of the mysterious object in the Milky Way with a little sun symbol

This morning.

Via BBC:

The object, first spotted by a university student working on his undergraduate thesis, releases a huge burst of radio energy three times every hour.

The pulse comes “every 18.18 minutes, like clockwork,” said astrophysicist Natasha Hurley-Walker, who led the investigation after the student’s discovery, using a telescope in the Western Australian outback known as the Murchison Widefield Array.

While there are other objects in the universe that switch on and off – such as pulsars – Ms Hurley-Walker said 18.18 minutes is a frequency that has never been observed before.

Finding this object was “kind of spooky for an astronomer,” she said, “because there’s nothing known in the sky that does that.”


Australia scientists find ‘spooky’ spinning object in Milky Way (BBC)


Behold: the Milky Way and a waterfall. Seems like a simple enough juxtaposition, but not so. To wit:

The dream was to capture both the waterfall and the Milky Way together. Difficulties included finding a good camera location, artificially illuminating the waterfall and the surrounding valley effectively, capturing the entire scene with numerous foreground and background shots, worrying that fireflies would be too distracting, keeping the camera dry, and avoiding stepping on a poisonous snake. […] The waterfall is the picturesque Zhulian waterfall in the Luoxiao Mountains in eastern Hunan Province, China. The central band of our Milky Way Galaxy crosses the sky and shows numerous dark dust filaments and colourful nebulas. Bright stars dot the sky — all residing in the nearby Milky Way — including the Summer Triangle with bright Vega visible above the Milky Way’s arch. After capturing all 78 component exposures for you to enjoy, the photographer and friends enjoyed the view themselves for the rest of the night.

(Image: Xie Jie)


Ewoks out of shot.

Behold: a memorable shot taken by photographer Will Godward who knew that celestial objects directly overhead are seen more clearly because their light is scattered least by atmospheric air. And so, around midnight in Southern Australia….

Chasing his mental picture, he ventured deep inside the Kuipto Forest where tall radiata pines blocked out much of the sky — but not in this clearing. There, through a window framed by trees, he captured his envisioned combination of local and distant nature. Sixteen exposures of both trees and the Milky Way Galaxy were recorded. Antares is the bright orange star to left of our Galaxy’s central plane, while Alpha Centauri is the bright star just to the right of the image center. The direction toward our Galaxy’s center is below Antares. Although in a few hours the Earth’s rotation moved the Galactic plane up and to the left — soon invisible behind the timber, his mental image was secured forever — and is featured here.

(Image: Will Godward)


Behold: a newly detailed panorama that explores regions just above and below the galactic plane near the centre of our beloved Milky Way in radio and X-ray light. But what’s going on in there? To wit:

 X-ray light taken by the orbiting Chandra Observatory is shown in orange (hot), green (hotter), and purple (hottest) and superposed with a highly detailed image in radio waves, shown in gray, acquired by the MeerKAT array. Interactions are numerous and complex. Galactic beasts such as expanding supernova remnants, hot winds from newly formed stars, unusually strong and colliding magnetic fields, and a central supermassive black hole are all battling in a space only 1000 light years across. Thin bright stripes appear to result from twisting and newly connecting magnetic fields in colliding regions, creating an energetic type of inner galactic space weather with similarities to that created by our Sun. Continued observations and study hold promise to not only shed more light on the history and evolution of our own galaxy — but all galaxies.

(Image: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass/Q.D. Wang; Radio: NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT)


Behold: a recently pruned grove of oak trees in the Spanish town of Salamanca framing a spectacular galactic vista. To wit:

The photographer stayed up until 2 am, waiting until the Milky Way Galaxy rose above the level of a majestic looking oak. From this carefully chosen perspective, dust lanes in the galaxy appear to be natural continuations to branches of the tree. Last came the light. A flashlight was used on the far side of the tree to project a silhouette. By coincidence, other trees also appeared as similar silhouettes across the relatively bright horizon. The featured image was captured as a single 30-second frame in 2015 and processed to digitally enhance the Milky Way.

(Image: César Vega Toledano; Rollover Annotation: Judy Schmidt)


Behold: the dusty central Milky Way rising over the ancient Andean archaeological site of Yacoraite in northwestern Argentina. To wit:

The denizens of planet Earth reaching skyward are the large Argentine saguaro cactus currently native to the arid region. The unusual yellow-hued reflection nebula above is created by dust scattering starlight around red giant star Antares. Alpha star of the constellation Scorpius, Antares is over 500 light-years distant. Next to it bright blue Rho Ophiuchi is embedded in more typical dusty bluish reflection nebulae though. The deep night skyscape was created from a series of background exposures of the rising stars made while tracking the sky, and a foreground exposure of the landscape made with the camera and lens fixed on the tripod. In combination they produce the single stunning image and reveal a range of brightness and color that your eye can’t quite perceive on its own.

(Image: Franco Meconi)


Something you don’t normally see. To wit:

In visible light, the Milky Way’s centre is hidden by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But in this stunning vista, the Spitzer Space Telescope‘s infrared cameras, penetrate much of the dust revealing the stars of the crowded galactic centre region. A mosaic of many smaller snapshots, the detailed, false-colour image shows older, cool stars in bluish hues. Red and brown glowing dust clouds are associated with young, hot stars in stellar nurseries. The very centre of the Milky Way has recently been found capable of forming newborn stars. The galactic centre lies some 26,700 light-years away, toward the constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this picture spans about 900 light-years.

(Image: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Spitzer Space Telescope, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.; Reprocessing: Judy Schmidt)


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)