Southern Milky Way

Copyright 2001 Thom Iwancio

The heart of our galaxy is evident at the bottom of this wide field view of the densest region of the Milky Way.  The bright region in the lower center may appear to be a cloud, but is in actuality the combined light of billions of stars near the center of our galaxy.  The dark bands and knots are regions of light obscuring dust between us and the myriads of stars beyond.

This area of the Summer and Fall sky is full of deep space wonders, many of which can be spotted in this photo.  The bright Lagoon Nebula, M8, is at lower center with the red and blue Trifid Nebula, M20, just above it.  The dense star region around cluster M24 is the center and the two red emission nebulae, M16 and M17 can be seen further up.  The bright orange glow of the planet Mars, passing through this region when the photo was taken, can be seen at the right edge.  "Straddling" Mars is the "Dark Horse Nebula" as it's sometimes called, a dark region of obscuring dust.



Date/Location:    July 21, 2001     Iwancio-Hodge Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Olympus OM-1 w/ 35 mm lens piggyback on main scope
Focal Ratio:   f 2.8
Guiding:    Manual through polar mounted Orion XT-8
Conditions:    Visually clear
Weather:    70 F, Still wind
Exposure: 1 x 20 minutes
Filters:    None
Processing: Photoshop 5