La Silla: The unlimited sky

La Silla: The unlimited sky

How many times in your life could you say: Wow! This is really something! If you spend a time at ESO’s La Silla observatory, you can bet on having lot of those moments. And this picture shows one of them. Totally stunning view from the 3.6m telescope platform always gives you some opportunity to capture something unforgottable. In this case – from the 22nd January 2015 – the main attention takes the Orion’s stars and nebulae, which loftily lie in the Milky way up above the La Silla domes. If you see something like this by eyes, you totally understand why the skies there are literally unlimited.

Actually, there is more to understand in this image. When in 1895 the American astrophotographer Edward Emerson Barnard (1857-1923) captured the Orion constellation for very long exposure, he probably did not know that by his photographs he opened new „window“ into the Universe. There was a striking loop in his picture, a hazy half-wand that laid in more than half of the constellation. In fact, it’s a cloud of glowing hydrogen, which is visually unobservable. Today, more than 120 years ago, it is quite common for such structures to be photographed in the Milky Way. The loop is named „Barnard’s Loop“ , in the honor of a photographer, and it hovers high above ESO / La Silla observatory in Chile in the view. Since then, many other similar nebulae have been identified, some of which are also on the picture. For example, the large oval nebula under the arch is popularly called „Angelfish“ (according to the shape of aquarium fish of the same name), looking to the right up there is the circular nebula Rosetta or right from the brightest star in the Milky Way, which is Sirius, you can identify the smaller Seagull nebula. Used Canon 6D Baader IR Mod, Samyang 24 mm, f2.0, ISO 8000, panorama of 4 segments, each 72×15 s, darkframes applied; tripod.