Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"A Look to the Heavens"

"Have you ever seen the band of our Milky Way Galaxy? Chances are you have never seen it like this - nor could you. In a clear sky from a dark location at the right time, a faint band of light is visible across the sky. This band is the disk of our spiral galaxy. Since we are inside this disk, the band appears to encircle the Earth. The below spectacular picture of the Milky Way arch, however, goes where the unaided eye cannot.

Click image for larger sizes.

The image is actually a deep digital fusion of nine photos that create a panorama fully 360 across. Taken recently in Teide National Park in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, the image includes the Teide volcano, visible near the image center, behind a volcanic landscape that includes many large rocks. Far behind these Earthly structures are many sky wonders that are visible to the unaided eye, such as the band of the Milky Way, the bright waxing Moon inside the arch, and the Pleiades open star cluster (can you find it?). The deep exposure also brings out many sky wonders normally beyond human perception, many of which are labelled on this annotated image version, including Barnard's Loop, visible above as the half red ring below the Milky Way band."

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