milky-way-galaxy

Balanced Rock at Arches National Park in Utah beneath the amazing Milky Way and night sky. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its mesmerizing night skies. Photo courtesy of Mike Mezeul II.

Want to be featured on our social media channels? Share your stunning pics of America’s public lands at flickr.com/groups/americas-public-lands.

SNR 0519

SNR 0519-69.0, SNR 0519 for short, is a supernova remnant located about 150,000 light years away towards the constellation Doradus, the Dolphinfish. It is in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy neighboring our Milky Way.

SNR 0519 is the result of a supernova, an exploding star, about 600 years ago. Different types of supernovas are caused in different ways. For SNR 0519, the supernova came from a white dwarf star, a dying, Sun-like star.

Image from NASA, information from NASA.

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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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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“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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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 glitters above Yellowstone National Park. David Lane created this stunning multi-image panorama of the night sky over the park’s Pelican Creek – a place that offers great views of Yellowstone Lake. Photo courtesy of David Lane.