Wide angle view towards the Galactic centre
AAO image reference AAT 28.     « Previous || Next »

Wide angle view towards the Galactic centre, milky_way.jpg
Image width is about 40 degrees
Image and text © 1980-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.

The Milky Way is best seen on winter nights (May to August) from the southern hemisphere. This wide-angle picture shows a broad span of the southern Milky Way and is a photograph made using colour film in a conventional camera. The camera was mounted at the end of the Anlgo-Australian Telescope which was pointed towards the centre of our Galaxy, in the direction of the constellation of Sagittarius. The missing bit was shadowed by the AAT dome

The Galactic centre itself is totally hidden at visible wavelengths by the band of dust which divides the Milky Way along much of its length. The dust lane is only visible because it blots out background stars. Embedded in the dust are many star-forming regions, seen as bright red emission nebulae. The brightest, left of the centre of the picture, is Messier 8, the Lagoon Nebula, which is visible to the unaided eye. At least 16 other prominent objects catalogued by Charles Messier (1730-1816) can be found on the photograph. Many of these are seen in more detail in the series of pages ('Related images') below.

Oh yes. The bright 'star' at lower left is the planet Jupiter. An earlier attempt at this scene, using another telescope on which to mount my camera, was less successful.


Related Images
AAT 22.    Dust cloud and the open cluster NGC 6520
AAT 92.    Barnard 86 and NGC 6520, wide angle view
AAT 93.    Baade's Window, around NGC 6522
UKS 20.   Clouds of stars and dust in Sagittarius
UKS 21.   NGC 6522, gamma Sagittarii and Baade's Window
MISC 9.   The southern Milky Way from Crux to Carina
MISC 10. The southern Milky Way in Scorpius, Ara and Norma
MISC 28. A bad night under the stars
Constellation of Sagittarius (external site)

For details of photographic exposure, search technical table by AAT reference number


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Updated by David Malin, 2012 March 20