Teide Observatory

Image title: Teide Observatory
Author: Curd-Christian Tengeler
Country: Germany

Taken in May 2022 in Teide National Park in Tenerife, Spain, this image shows the arc of the Milky Way galaxy crossing the sky, accompanied by prominent constellations over the professional telescopes located on the mountains of that island. While the telescopes and the people working with them may  ignore the constellations, the photographer managed to catch the Milky Way in such a way that it almost matches the shape of the mountain.

The bright star in the top-left side of the image is Vega, one of the brightest stars in the night sky and located in the small constellation Lyra. Being a white star, it is the standard star astrophysicists use to define the colour scale. As it is also a relatively close star, only about 25 light-years away, with a relatively simple name, it frequently appears in modern science fiction, for example in Carl Sagan’s famous novel “Contact”, which was filmed in 1997 with Jodie Foster starring as a radio astronomer.

The bright star seen below the galaxy and on the left half of the image is Altair, also one of the brightest stars in the night sky and located in the constellation Aquila. Together with Deneb — a star in the constellation Cygnus (the Swan) that is not visible in this image — Altair and Vega form the Summer Triangle, a characteristic asterism of popular astronomy in the northern hemisphere, where these telescopes are located.

On the right side of the image we can see the constellation Scorpius. This is easily identified by its brightest star, Antares, the reddish star in the Scorpion’s heart. Below it, the whole body and tail of the Scorpion can be found and above it the celestial Scorpion's head is represented by three bright bluish stars. Below the tail and above the horizon, the constellation of Ara, the Altar, is half-visible, but like all the stars of Sagittarius in the Milky Way and the much fainter ones in Hercules and Ophiuchus above it, these constellations are more difficult to pinpoint in this photograph full of stars. The head of Ophiuchus is the relatively bright star in the middle between Vega and Antares. In addition to the huge size of this constellation, it is also important because it is the thirteenth one of the Zodiac, and the Sun spends roughly three weeks in Ophiuchus, after only five days in Scorpius. Furthermore, Ophiuchus represents the model for the mythological best doctor in the world, called Asklepios in Greek mythology, and Aesculab in Latin. His constellation praises all people working in medical professions, including nurses, pharmacists and doctors. 

Also see image in Zenodo: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7425530


Curd-Christian Tengeler/IAU OAE

About the Image

Release date:
15 December 2022, 12:00
Related announcements:
12228 x 6114 px
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About the Object

Unspecified : Technology : Observatory

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