The Milky Way within reach

The Milky Way within reach

Each of us was sometimes dreaming about how it would be within reach with the Milky Way. There are many ancient legends speaking about Milky Way as a sky part of river on the Earth, smoke of souls moving towards a gods or even bride’s veil. Along the cultures, the Milky Way was such a mystery and inspiration for wonderful stories. All has changed by first telescopic observation by Galileo Galilei in 17th century, which revealed many distant stars in the „milk“. In 20th century, the Milky Way was correctly defined as galaxy, member of local group. However, the feeling of the fascination never disappears, when you stand under the Milky Way and see all the beauty of it. This is what I felt on 4th April, 2016, while standing in the deep Atacama desert of Chile, far from the light pollution.

The image is also „using“ the Milky Way as a bridge between human (me, standing on left) and the high level technology for exploring (not only) the Milky Way (the distant ESO’s Paranal and VISTA observatory on right). Along the Milky Way there are numerous dark and emission nebulae, the interstellar matter. Except the Milky Way itself, you can spot Magellanic clouds – small galaxies low over the horizon – or fuzzy green comet 252P LINEAR on the edge of Great Rift. The brightest object, with orange color, is red planet Mars. Lower can be found white-colored Saturn. From the Solar System, another „object“ is zodiacal light, rising as a faint light column left from the center of the image. Greenish and yellowish tinge of the sky is caused by natural airglow in the high atmosphere.

Used Canon 6D Baader IR modified, Samyang 24 mm, f2.8, ISO 10000, 39×15 seconds panorama from tripod. Feel free to download full-resolution version of the image from European Southern Observatory website.