Milky Way Starscapes Photo Gallery

The Milky Way is a hazy band of light that encircles the night sky. To the ancients it looked like milk had been spilled across the heavens which is why the Greeks called it the galaxies kuklos or milky circle. Greek philosophers Anaxagoras (ca. 500–428 BC) and Democritus (450–370 BC) believed the Milky Way consisted of distant stars. Galileo proven them right in 1610 when he turned his simple telescope skyward and discovered the Milky Way was composed of a countless faint stars.

In the 1750s, Immanuel Kant speculated that the Milky Way was an enormous system of stars held together by gravity and rotating about a common center. From our perspective inside the Milky Way, the resulting disk of stars would be seen as a band of light arching across the sky. Kant even suggested that some of the nebulae visible in astronomer's telescopes are distant, separate star systems themselves, similar to the Milky Way and he called them "island universes".

It wasn't until the 1920s that Edwin Hubble conclusively demonstrated that the Milky Way was actually a "spiral nebula" or galaxy (from the Greek galaxies kuklos) resembling the Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31). The major difference is that our own Solar System resides within the Milky Way Galaxy. This gravitationally bound spiral disk of some 100 billion stars has a diameter of 100,000 light years and a thickness of 10,000 light years. The gas, dust and stars in the Milky Way Galaxy are organized in a bar-shaped core surrounded by a disk of curved arms that follow logarithmic spirals like a nautilus shell. These spiral arm structures are easy to see in external galaxies like the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51).

The artificial lights and resulting light pollution of modern cities makes it impossible to see the Milky Way from metropolitan areas. But travel to a remote area with truly dark skies and the Milky Way is revealed as an amazing band of light running across the sky through some of the brightest constellations (e.g. - Taurus, Orion, Carina, Crux, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Aquila, Cygnus, Cassiopeia).

A starscape is a nighttime landscape photograph that features a recognizable object or foreground against backdrop of stars and the Milky Way. This type of photography has been popularized by World At Night (TWAN). This organization was formed to promote a global perspective through images of sites around the world at night "attesting to the truly unified nature of Earth as a planet rather than an amalgam of human-designated territories." For more information, see TWAN's Mission Statement.

Below is a selection of starscapes of the Milky Way taken from the dark skies of Portal, AZ.


Milky Way Starscape Panoramas

Milky Way Panorama
Milky Way Panorama - 1
(Bifrost Observatory)

Milky Way Panorama
Milky Way Panorama - 3
(Bifrost Observatory)

Milky Way Panorama
Milky Way Panorama - 2
(360° Horizon)


Milky Way Starscapes

MilkyWay12-506m
Milky Way Above
Chiricahua Mtns - 1

MilkyWay12-404m
Milky Way Through
Sagittarius & Scorpius

MilkyWayChiricahuas-01m
Milky Way Above
Chiricahua Mtns - 2

MilkyWay12-514m
Milky Way Above
Chiricahuas & Bifrost - 1

MilkyWay12-513m
Milky Way Above
Bifrost Observatory - 1

MilkyWay12-522m
Milky Way Above
Chiricahuas & Bifrost - 2

StarScape13-0004m
Milky Way Rising - 1

StarScape13-0006m
Milky Way Above
Bifrost Observatory - 2

StarScape13-0007m
Milky Way Above
Bifrost Observatory - 3

StarScape13-0008m
Milky Way Above
Bifrost Observatory - 4

   
   


Milky Way Photo Galleries

| Milky Way Wide Angle | Milky Way Close Up | Milky Way Starscapes | Autumn Milky Way |




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