APOD: Galaxies from the Altiplano (2016 Oct 13)

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APOD Robot
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APOD: Galaxies from the Altiplano (2016 Oct 13)

Post by APOD Robot » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:11 am

Image Galaxies from the Altiplano

Explanation: The central bulge of our Milky Way Galaxy rises over the northern Chilean Atacama altiplano in this postcard from planet Earth. At an altitude of 4500 meters, the strange beauty of the desolate landscape could almost belong to another world though. Brownish red and yellow tinted sulfuric patches lie along the whitish salt flat beaches of the Salar de Aguas Calientes region. In the distance along the Argentina border is the stratovolcano Lastarria, its peak at 5700 meters (19,000 feet). In the clear, dark sky above, stars, nebulae, and cosmic dust clouds in the Milky Way echo the colors of the altiplano at night. Extending the view across extragalactic space, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, shine near the horizon through a faint greenish airglow.

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heehaw

Re: APOD: Galaxies from the Altiplano (2016 Oct 13)

Post by heehaw » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:23 am

That is one of the nicest pictures I've ever seen of the relationship of the two Magellanic clouds to our Galaxy. To become philosophical: I think of all my ancestors, thousands upon thousands of years back, looking up at the sky (I doubt that any of them were far enough south to see the Magellanic clouds!) and wondering what that dramatic Milky Way, with its clearly visible dark rift, really was! And today we know! How lucky I am! How lucky we all are today on this precious planet!

lefthip

Re: APOD: Galaxies from the Altiplano (2016 Oct 13)

Post by lefthip » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:32 pm

A lovely picture of a sky that I never see. Are the Megallanic Clouds so apparent to the naked eye or is this a long exposure?

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Re: APOD: Galaxies from the Altiplano (2016 Oct 13)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:02 pm

lefthip wrote:A lovely picture of a sky that I never see. Are the Megallanic Clouds so apparent to the naked eye or is this a long exposure?
Neither the Milky Way nor the Magellanic Clouds look like this to the eye. Visually, the Milky Way from this location looks little different than from any decent dark sky location, which means it looks like a dim gray cloud. The Magellanic Clouds look very similar to the Milky Way, just detached from the main band.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Galaxies from the Altiplano (2016 Oct 13)

Post by Holger Nielsen » Fri Oct 14, 2016 8:38 am

A very nice picture indeed with airglow, I suppose, near the horizon. Using the picture you can locate tho position of the south celestial pole in two ways I know of:
1) It forms approximately an equilateral triangle with the Small Magelannic Cloud and the Large Magelallanic Cloud and is located towards the Milky Way.
2) It lies near the intersection of two great circles: One is the bisector formed by Alpha and Beta Centauri, the other goes through the "vertical" stem of the Southern Cross (to calculate the coordinates of the intersection point is a nice excercise in spherical geometry :idea:).

I can locate the LMC, SMC and the stars mentioned above in the picture. But I am puzzled by a bright object near the SMC at 8 o'clock and another one appearing near the picture top above Alpha Cen. Also, I cannot identify any stars at the left side above the Milky Way.
Any suggestions?

Holger

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Re: APOD: Galaxies from the Altiplano (2016 Oct 13)

Post by geckzilla » Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:54 am

Holger Nielsen wrote:I can locate the LMC, SMC and the stars mentioned above in the picture. But I am puzzled by a bright object near the SMC at 8 o'clock and another one appearing near the picture top above Alpha Cen. Also, I cannot identify any stars at the left side above the Milky Way.
Any suggestions?
The one by the SMC 8 o'clock is 47 Tucanae. Near picture top is probably Omega Centauri. Both are globular clusters. I used a desktop app called Stellarium to quickly check.
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