Milky Way galaxy

| 16 Comments

Photograph by Dan Stodola.

Photography contest, Honorable Mention.

Stodola.Milky_Way.jpg

Milky Way rising, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota. Mr. Stodola writes, “For this picture it’s the darkness of the night sky, essential to taking a picture like this, that I’m calling endangered. There appears to be no location in my entire state with night skies as dark as I was able to get in the BWCA, and even at that I could still see some light pollution on the horizon. The nearest location with similarly dark skies may be about 250 miles away from where I live.”

16 Comments

Ooooo. Ahhhhh.

That. Is. Gorgeous.

Ah; it brings back old memories of looking at it from the bridge of a submarine out in the middle of the Pacific.

There was only one other instance I can remember that looked almost as spectacular, and that was in Northern Michigan on a clear, crisp winter night.

I have not been able to see it in quite a number of years now.

Don’t think it’s just quite as bad here in Northern Ireland, light polution wise Matt, although greater Belfast is a bit of a problem. Great photo though.

I do seem to remember that I could see more when I was a young lad in the 1960’s than I can now in tnc city, or maybe that’s down to my poor eyesight !

On slightly different subject, I find the Herschel Atlas images absolutely astounding:

http://herschel.cf.ac.uk/results/he[…]ional-lenses

How anyone can remain a YEC after viewing these is beyond me.

Ah, the great star-wheel. Humbling and uplifting at the same time, to realize that our own Sun is but a pinprick in such a structure.

At the family ranch on Thanksgiving night, my 6 year-old nephew and I had a good view of it: magnificent!

stunning!

A wonderful image, Dan. Bright object near center? Lots of very fine seeing in NW Wyoming if you get the notion and the time and the wherewithal simultaneously.

peter Henderson Wrote:

How anyone can remain a YEC after viewing these is beyond me.

Or OEC, or especially a “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when or how” IDer.

I would love to know exactly how far away each star is, and thus when that light was emitted that we’re just now seeing. It’s mind boggling that most people just don’t care. I’m convinced that such apathy is a bigger factor than fundamentalism in allowing anti-science activists to mislead so many.

I can still recall that night in 1985 at the base of Mt. Katahdin. Never before or since did I see 10% as many stars. And to think that what I saw was but a tiny part of one galaxy out of billions!

Frank J said: I would love to know exactly how far away each star is…

The Milky Way is 70,000 to 100,000 light-years in diameter, and the earth is close to one edge. Because we can’t see through the galaxy’s core region, the most distant part we can see is probably 40,000 to 50,000 light-years away. The bright parts we can see - the outboard Perseus Arm and the inboard Sagittarius Arm - are only a few thousand light-years away. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_way

Paul Burnett said:

Frank J said: I would love to know exactly how far away each star is…

The Milky Way is 70,000 to 100,000 light-years in diameter, and the earth is close to one edge. Because we can’t see through the galaxy’s core region, the most distant part we can see is probably 40,000 to 50,000 light-years away. The bright parts we can see - the outboard Perseus Arm and the inboard Sagittarius Arm - are only a few thousand light-years away. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_way

Watch out! There’s a lunatic roaming these comment threads who will insist that you just made a bunch of “claims” and he may ask you to prove all of them!

Paul Burnett Wrote:

The bright parts we can see - the outboard Perseus Arm and the inboard Sagittarius Arm - are only a few thousand light-years away.

Which proooves that the Universe is only.… ;-)

Actually I knew that visible stars are relatively close. I was thinking of the details, i.e. which stars whose light began their travel during memorable events in my life, or historical events, e.g. WWII, discovery of America, etc. Until I get the time and interest to get those details, I’ll be content to wonder which star is which.

BTW, Venus is currently very bright during my ~5 AM drive to work. But that light is only a few minutes old.

The Andromeda Galaxy is just barely visible to the naked eye at a site with no light pollution. It’s about 2.5 MILLION LY away.

Dang, that Satan is a tricky guy.

Yeah, on a real dark night you can see a faint fuzzy glow if you know just where to look. However, all you’re seeing is the nucleus – I have a vague recollection that if you could see it the way it shows up in astrophotography, it would have seven times the apparent size of the Moon.

Magnificent, Dan!

Frank J said: I would love to know exactly how far away each star is

The following references do that, in an analogue fashion.

For those who are both stereo vision enthusiasts and astronomy buffs, there’s nothing quite like the Monkhouse & Cox books, 3-D Star Maps and 3-D Atlas of Stars and Galaxies.

OOP for a long time, but still to be found on Amazon and elsewhere. Red/Green glasses usually still included. Stunning deconstructions of “constellations”.

Frank J said:

Actually I knew that visible stars are relatively close. I was thinking of the details, i.e. which stars whose light began their travel during memorable events in my life, or historical events, e.g. WWII, discovery of America, etc. Until I get the time and interest to get those details, I’ll be content to wonder which star is which.

I remember the late Jack Horkheimer, who used to have a popular astronomy TV show called “The Star Hustler” (later changed to Gazer), kind of “got” to me once when he pointed out some stars whose light took about the span of a human lifetime to reach us. For some reason the Pleiades stuck in my mind, but that can’t be right – those stars are several hundred light-years away. Maybe he was really talking about the stars of the Big Dipper. Except for an outlier at 129 LY, the other stars in that asterism are in the 70s and 80s. I do remember that comparison to a lifetime brought the vastness of space down to a humanly comprehensible level. Gave me a slight chill, anyway.

Crudely Wrott said:

A wonderful image, Dan. Bright object near center? Lots of very fine seeing in NW Wyoming if you get the notion and the time and the wherewithal simultaneously.

I can’t see the details for the glare, but Jupiter was in Sagittarius a few years ago at this brightness, so that would place this picture in time as well. Very good photo. To answer another person’s question, Sirius is a bright star in the east right now at sunset that’s only about 12 light years distant, and Vega sets in the west at about 22 light years away, so there are some close bright stars you can see. In another time-related matter, I realized a few years back that Saturn was back to the same constellation, Taurus, that it was in 26 years ago when I first started learning Astronomy. I’ve lived through two Saturnian years. I’d like to make it to one year of Uranus (84 Earth years).

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on December 27, 2010 12:00 PM.

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