Photographer's Note

Apologies for breaking the TE rules slightly. This, obviously isnt the earth per se, but rather a view from it. It is as if we are on a spaceship, looking out. It's a very beautiful spaceship, but the view out reminds us where we are.

This is the Milky way - looking out through the disk of stars and glowing gas. It's the cygnus constellation - the swan shape is easy to see when there are fewer stars. The milky way here is divided by the cygnus rift - a lane of dark dust that obscures the light from stars behind it from reaching our eyes. Most stars here are about 2,000 light years away - some of the light was emitted during the pax romana.

There are two interesting features in the upper left quadrant of this photo alone. Firstly, the relatively bright star there is one of the most brightest stars we know. The star, α Cygni (aka Deneb, literally the tail of the swan) is about 54,000 times as luminous as the sun. If placed at the center of the solar system, the glowing ball of gas would fill up half the distance from the earth to the sun.

Another neat feature (which I didn't realize until I processed the image) is the glowing reddish nebula next to it. This is the north america nebula - named for its shape. Here is a better photo of the nebula.

I took this photo on Mount Diablo, where the view was surprisingly good despite being surrounded by light pollution. I regret not having taken multiple exposures and stacking them.

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Additional Photos by Biswaroop Mukherjee (bmukherjee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 218 W: 72 N: 211] (1516)
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