southern milky way

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View of the Milky Way over the telescopes of the European Southern Observatory I believe, in the high desert of Chile

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:

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Timelapse shots from the Atacama Desert, home of the European Southern Observatory’s main telescopes, including the ALMA - Atacama Large Millimeter Array - the gigantic set of radio telescopes you see operating in some of these shots.

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Dark Emu and Scorpius Rising by Alan Dyer
Via Flickr:
The Dark Emu of aboriginal sky lore rising in the east at the OzSky 2016 star party at Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia, on April 2, 2016. The sweep of the Milky Way from Carina at upper right to Sagittarius at lower left just rising takes in much of the splendours of the southern sky. The Dark Emu itself is made of dark lanes in the Milky Way, with the dark Coal Sack at upper centre forming his head and beak. The dark lane through Centaurus forms his neck. At left is Scorpius rising, with Mars and Saturn to the left of Antares. The Small Magellanic Cloud is at lower right setting. The Zodiacal Band and Gegenschein add the brighter sky at upper left. This is a stack of 5 x 3-minute exposures, all tracked on the iOptron Sky Tracker, and with the 14mm Rokinon lens at f/2.8 and filter modified Canon 5D MkII at ISO 2000. The ground comes from one 8-minute exposure at ISO 800 with the tracker motor off taken right after the tracked shots. This provides the sharp foreground, with a photographer with the OzSky star party at lower right. The composite does leave some ghosly trailed trees at left and along the horizon. But I think this looks rather neat.

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Outback Walkabout by Carlos Orue
Via Flickr:
It’s all about finding your space

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Southern Milky way by Jeff Dai

Sky Lights in the New Year : Triggered by the impact of a coronal mass ejection on New Year’s eve, a moderate geomagnetic storm brought a celebration of sky lights to planet Earth’s high latitudes yesterday. In this New Year’s nightscape, the shimmering reddish curtains of aurora australis along a southern horizon are captured over Morgiana, SW Victoria, Australia. Of course, more permanent jewels of the southern skies are on the scene. The southern Milky Way, Alpha and Beta Centauri, and bright stars of the Southern Cross are on the left. In silhouette, branches of the large foreground tree stretch across the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic clouds. The bright star framed near the tips of tree branches at right is Achernar. Alpha star of the constellation Eridanus, Achernar is sometimes known as the southern end of the river. via NASA

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The impact of a coronal mass ejection on New Year’s eve brought a celebration of sky lights to planet Earth’s high latitudes yesterday. In this New Year’s nightscape, the shimmering reddish curtains of aurora australis along a southern horizon are captured over Morgiana, SW Victoria, Australia. Of course, more permanent jewels of the southern skies are on the scene. The southern Milky Way, Alpha and Beta Centauri, and bright stars of the Southern Cross are on the left. In silhouette, branches of the large foreground tree stretch across the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic clouds. The bright star framed near the tips of tree branches at right is Achernar. Alpha star of the constellation Eridanus, Achernar is sometimes known as the southern end of the river.

Image Credit & Copyright: Gill Fry

Cosmic dust clouds and young, energetic stars inhabit this telescopic vista, less than 500 light-years away toward the northern boundary of Corona Australis, the Southern Crown. The dust clouds effectively block light from more distant background stars in the Milky Way. But the striking complex of reflection nebulae cataloged as NGC 6726, 6727, and IC 4812 produce a characteristic blue color as light from the region’s young hot stars is reflected by the cosmic dust. The dust also obscures from view stars still in the process of formation. At the left, smaller yellowish nebula NGC 6729 bends around young variable star R Coronae Australis. Just below it, glowing arcs and loops shocked by outflows from embedded newborn stars are identified as Herbig-Haro objects. On the sky this field of view spans about 1 degree. That corresponds to almost 9 light-years at the estimated distance of the nearby star forming region.

Image Credit & Copyright: CHART32 Team, Processing - Johannes Schedler