Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Three Views of the Milky Way

Three views of the Milky Way, shot over two nights in the Mojave Desert, California.

1. Still photo

Move your cursor over the image (or touch on mobile) to see labels: constellations are in blue and planets are in pink. Click on the image for a high-res version, where you can make out some of the amazing deep-sky objects in Sagittarius, including star clusters and nebulae (interstellar clouds of dust and gas hundreds of light years wide, where new stars are being born). Though it cannot be seen in the photo, the frame also includes the galactic centre – the theorised location of a supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A*.

2. Star trails

These star trails were shot over 65 minutes. I like how it really brings out the variation in star colours. The stars moved from left to right, and the brightest streak is Jupiter.

3. Timelapse

The video above opens in a new window (I recommend setting the quality to 1080p as YouTube sometimes picks a lower resolution). 2.5 hours of diurnal motion are compressed into 20 seconds: an effective speed of 450x. The "star" rising around 0:08 is Mars. The sky lighting up at the end of the video is not daybreak, but the Moon rising in the east.

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