What is this odd view? Is it from this world? A photo montage? Well, not pretty much. This image shows view to the sky in January from both hemispheres. It ingeniously uses the compositions and timing to demonstrate different views in the Milky Way and the zodiacal light close to the Sun in the sky, which is located in both cases under the horizon. This situation with the presence of zodiacal light heading from the center of the Milky Way comes only once per year – in January. And, of course, in opposite way from both hemispheres. So while the southern photograph had been taken on 26 January 2015 just before the daybreak – pointing my camera to the east, the Slovakian image was captured a year later on 2 January 2016 just after the sunset above the western horizon. Practically told, it shows the January view to the night sky around the position of the Sun, which is perfectly hidden by Earth’s horizon. But unlike the astronauts in the space, I was somehow able to create the same view from the ground.
The celestial X – south-north
Except the columns of the zodiacal light you can also notice reddish or pink H II regions emission nebulae in the visible plane of our Galaxy. On the northern hemisphere, the most noticeable is NGC 7000 or The North America Nebula (close to the upper right corner), while on the south – in completely opposite position – you can find a rose-shaped Carina Nebula. Both images were captured with same equipment in almost the same season, just with a year difference between first and the second one. Unfortunately, the northern part (from Slovakian village Oravska Lesna) is pretty much disturbed by the light pollution unlike the southern part, captured from ESO’s Paranal Observatory, which is located in incredibly naturally dark spot of the Atacama Desert.
Used Canon 6D IR Baader modified, Samyang 24 mm, f2.0, ISO 8000. Image from Slovakia (upper) is 23×15 seconds panorama, image form Chile (bottom) is 24×15 seconds panorama. Both images taken from tripod. Full size print quality of the image is available on ESO website.