milky-way-galaxy

The Castle, by PaulWilsonImagesNZ

I’ll start by saying how much I love this location! The composition possibilities are endless, I was here all night but probably only explored 5% of the place. Castle Hill is famous for it’s castle like rocks carved in limestone. In 2002 it was named a “Spiritual Center of the Universe” by the Dalai Lama (thanks wikipedia). This panorama was taken just as the moon was setting, the light giving the rocks a defined edge. It was the first panorama of many. I still have a lot to process. I must agree with the Lama, while standing in the center of the tall rocks gazing at the milky way a spiritual feeling does come over you. Can’t wait to go back. I hope you enjoy this image as much as I did while taking it on this cold clear night. follow me here - www.facebook.com/paulwilsonimages

Peering deep into the heart of the Milky Way, this image shows a region of the sky in the constellation of Sagittarius. The two knots of stars you see are the globular clusters NGC 6522 (upper right) and NGC 6528 (lower left). There are over 200,000 stars in this image alone which covers a patch of sky just two-thirds as wide as the full moon.

The vastness of the cosmos is staggering.

Photo by Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona
Info Credit: Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy

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For myself, I like a universe that, includes much that is unknown and, at the same time, much that is knowable. A universe in which everything is known would be static and dull, as boring as the heaven of some weak-minded theologians. A universe that is unknowable is no fit place for a thinking being. The ideal universe for us is one very much like the universe we inhabit. And I would guess that this is not really much of a coincidence.
Carl Sagan  - Can We know the Universe?’ in M. Gardner (ed.), T

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“Probably no stars will physically hit each other. There’s just so much space between the stars, but when Andromeda collides with us it’ll have a huge impact on the Milky Way. Some things will get thrown into the black hole in the middle, some stars will get ripped off and thrown away into space, so it’ll be dramatic. And the entire night sky will change.” - The Universe S1E9 Alien Galaxies

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Galactic Center of Our Milky Way

The Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory – collaborated to produce an unprecedented image of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy.

Observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core. The center of the galaxy is located within the bright white region in the upper portion of the image. The entire image covers about one-half a degree, about the same angular width as the full moon.

Each telescope’s contribution is presented in a different color:

  • Yellow represents the near-infrared observations of Hubble. They outline the energetic regions where stars are being born as well as reveal hundreds of thousands of stars.
  • Red represents the infrared observations of Spitzer. The radiation and winds from stars create glowing dust clouds that exhibit complex structures from compact, spherical globules to long, stringy filaments.
  • Blue and violet represents the X-ray observations of Chandra. X-rays are emitted by gas heated to millions of degrees by stellar explosions and by outflows from the supermassive black hole in the galaxy’s center. The bright blue blob toward the bottom of the full field image is emission from a double star system containing either a neutron star or a black hole.
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Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory in Chile have released a breathtaking new photograph showing the central area of our Milky Way galaxy. The photograph shows a whopping 84 million stars in an image measuring 108500×81500, which contains nearly 9 billion pixels.

Crops of the zoomable version.

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“We inhabit a universe where atoms are made in the centers of stars; where each second a thousand suns are born; where life is sparked by sunlight and lightning in the airs and waters of youthful planets; where the raw material for biological evolution is sometimes made by the explosion of a star halfway across the Milky Way; where a thing as beautiful as a galaxy is formed a hundred billion times - a Cosmos of quasars and quarks, snowflakes and fireflies, where there may be black holes and other universe and extraterrestrial civilizations whose radio messages are at this moment reaching the Earth.”

                                                                    Carl Sagan, Cosmos

The Milky Way over Crater Lake National Park is just mesmerizing. Tiffany Nguyen took this amazing photo a few weeks ago while visiting the park. Of the experience, she says, “I must’ve gotten over a dozen mosquito bites and hardly any sleep, but it’s nights like this I’ll never forget.” Photo courtesy of Tiffany Nguyen.