The Southern Milky Way
A Wide Expanse of Stars, Dust, and Nebulae
click on the images of the deep sky objects to view them on their separate pages
One of the most glorious sights that we can see is the majestic arch of the Milky Way across the sky, which for most of us city dwellers, is unfortunately obscured by the yellow veil of city light pollution. The Milky Way is our home galaxy, containing within it not only the solar system, but also 300 billion other stars, possibly with their own solar systems. Shaped like a flattened disc, from our perspective on Earth, it appears as a band of light in the sky that encircles us 360 degrees. The Milky Way is the second largest galaxy in the local group of galaxies, just after the Andromeda Galaxy.
This photograph shows a wide field deep exposure of the Milky Way region viewed from Southern skies, featuring the constellations of Crux and Carina amongst others. Here, you can see the intricate dust lanes of dark molecular dust crisscrossing the galactic plane, amidst several bright nebulae and star clusters. The variations in colour tonalities of the star fields in the milky way are not artifacts; their colour graduations show the relative ages of stars, which are golden-yellow when older (towards the left of the image as one heads towards the galactic core) and blue when young (towards the right of the image as one heads towards the galactic spiral arms). The bright pink splotch at the centre of the image is none other than the Grand Carina Nebula, an extensive cloud of hydrogen gas that forms the brightest nebula in the night sky.
Since this photograph shows a very wide expanse of the sky, I have included the second image at the bottom, which show the various deep sky objects which I have also photographed through a telescope. To view them in greater detail, click on their images to enter their own separate page.
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Date(s): December 2016
Lens: Canon EF 50mm f1.8 stopped down to f/4
Camera: Canon EOS 6D (Unmodified)
Mount: Vixen Polarie
Exposure: 42 x 1 minute, darks and flats applied
Image reduction, integration and processing with Pleiades Astrophoto PixInsight.