Wide star fields, Second Place

Second place in the 2021 IAU OAE Astrophotography Contest, category Wide star fields: Milky Way Arch over Lut Desert, Iran, by Amirreza Kamkar, Iran (Islamic Republic of).

This panoramic dawn image shows the majestic band of the Milky Way – our home Galaxy – made up of a few hundred billion stars, among other structures, most of which are not detectable by our eyes, or in some cases even directly with telescopes. The appearance of the band is because the Milky Way is a disc-shaped galaxy, and we (Earth/Solar System) are situated within the disc.

Diverse cultures and traditions around the world each have their own name and cultural stories for the Milky Way. The dark regions visible in the Milky Way are large, dense, cool nebulae (clouds of dust and gas), which obscure the light from stars in the Milky Way. The Indigenous Australians associate stories with the dark patches of the Milky Way, one of the most prominent being the Emu in the Sky (called Tchingal in Wotjobaluk country). In and around the band of the Milky Way there are a vast range of star clusters, two familiar ones are M6 (Butterfly cluster) and M7 (Ptolemy’s cluster).

The bright point just above the horizon is the planet Venus (known to the Boorong people of Indigenous Australia as Chargee Gnowee, elder sister of the Sun). Within the band of the Milky Way the brightest point in the image is the planet Jupiter (called Ginabongbearp, the Sulphur-crested white cockatoo by the Boorong). The planet Saturn is the bright point between Venus and Jupiter (closer to Venus than Jupiter).

There are two constellations and one asterism that can be easily discerned in the image: Aquila, Scorpio (Maui’s Hook), and Teapot (asterism in Sagittarius). In this image, the center of the Milky Way at an approximate distance of 26,000 light years from Earth, is located roughly to the top right of the Teapot spout.

The bright red-orange point to the right of Jupiter is the red supergiant star Antares and is part of the constellation Scorpio (known as Maui’s Hook in Māori and Polynesian cultures). This variation in the colour of stars is the result of temperature of the stars (lower temperature stars are redder, higher temperatures stars are bluer).




Amirreza Kamkar/IAU OAE

About the Image

Release date:
25 August 2021, 18:00
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