Why would the sky glow red? An aurora! A solar storm in 2012, mostly coming from an active sunspot, showered particles on the Earth that excited oxygen atoms high in the Earth’s atmosphere. As the excited element’s electrons fell back to their ground state, they emitted a red glow.
The sky that night, however, also glowed with more familiar but more distant objects, including the central disk of our Milky Way Galaxy on the left, and the neighboring Large and Small Magellanic Cloud galaxies on the right.
Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN)
Here’s the labelled image for anyone who is interested:
NGC 6752 is the third brightest globular cluster in the night sky, being bested only by Omega Centauri and 47 Tucana. At a visual magnitude of 5.4 it is visible to the naked eye from a dark sky site. It’s roughly 13,000 light-years from Earth in the direction of the southern constellation Pavo (The Peacock) and contains well over 100,000 stars within its 100 light-year diameter. Bright red giant stars which dominate this cluster can be seen in the above image.
Here are gorgeous fulldome views above different telescopes of ESO’s La Silla Observatory
in northern Chile. The red and green hues are produced by airglow, waves of alternating air pressure which are caused by various processes in the upper atmosphere. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are also visible while Milky Way cuts across the sky.
Elijah Burritt - The Constellations of the Northern and Southern Hemisphere for Each Month in the Year, “Burritt’s Geography of the Heavens”, 1833.
These Celestial maps represent the Night Sky and Constellations of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Constellations are drawn in detail and include depictions of the Zodiacal figures the Stars are said to represent.
Map of the Northern Hemisphere shows Ursa Major (Great Bear or Big Dipper), Ursa Minor (the Little Bear or Little Dipper), Draco (the Dragono), Cassiopeia (the W), Perseus, Camelopardalis, and Cepheus. Map of the Southern Hemisphere shows Hydra (the Snake), Dorado (the Sword Fish), Pavo (the Peacock) and the Centaur.
Both charts are quartered by lines indicating the Solstitial and Equinoctial Colures.
Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve: “The sky is a cultural resource common to all humanity”
A little more than 100 years ago, people could walk outside at night everywhere, even in cities, and see the Milky Way galaxy arch across the night sky. Being able to see thousands of stars was part of everyday life, allowing people to get inspired by the beauty of our Galaxy. Nowadays, those living in the city can barely see the stars. Our ability to see starlight has diminished due to light and air pollution. Half of the world’s population cannot see stars because of night light pollution. Light pollution interferes with astronomical research, disrupting ecosystems, and determining adverse health effects, as well as wasting energy.
This is why some bright minds though that preserving the quality of the night sky should become a priority, and acted as such. The Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve is the southern hemisphere’s first dark sky reserve, and the world’s biggest. The dark sky reserve is located in the Mackenzie Basin, in the South Island of New Zealand, and includes Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and the villages of Lake Tekapo, Twizel and Mt Cook. A high number of clear nights throughout the year, along with the stability and transparency of the local atmosphere and its unique dark skies, make Mackenzie one of the best sites for viewing and researching the southern sky. Head here to see the Magellanic Clouds, neighboring galaxies to the Milky Way only visible in the Southern Hemisphere, or to catch the rise of the Matariki star cluster which symbolises the start of the Māori New Year.
Antique star maps depicting the sky of the Northern Hemisphere towards one of the four cardinal directions during the month of January (latitude 40 degrees North, Great Britain, the United States and all countries between latitudes 25 and 60 North).
Under dark skies the setting of the Milky Way can be a dramatic sight. Stretching nearly parallel to the horizon, this rich, edge-on vista of our galaxy above the dusty Namibian desert stretches from bright, southern Centaurus (left) to Cepheus in the north (right). From early August, the digitally stitched, panoramic night skyscape captures the Milky Way’s congeries of stars and rivers of cosmic dust, along with colors of nebulae not readily seen with the eye. Mars, Saturn, and Antares, visible even in more luminous night skies, form the the bright celestial triangle just touching the trees below the galaxy’s central bulge. Of course, our own galaxy is not the only galaxy in the scene. Two other major members of our local group, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Triangulum Galaxy, lie near the right edge of the frame, beyond the arc of the setting Milky Way.
Object Names: Milky Way Galaxy.
Image Type: Astronomical
Credit: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN, Earth And Stars)