Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Milky Way

Before moving to Shetland from Sheffield it virtually impossible to see the Milky Way due to Light Pollution. From the darkest spot in the Derwent Valley it was just visible.

In Shetland it is easier to get away from the light pollution and when there is a new moon the Milky way is absolutely spectacular.

Earth sits approx. 2/3rds from the centre on the outer edge of the spiral arm. Because the galaxy is essentially disc shaped, there are more stars in our line of sight as we look along the plane of the galaxy than there are when we look above or below the plane

A long exposure reveals the dense star clouds towards the centre. The central region is dominated by a dense hub of old red and yellow stars while the outer edge has a mix of stars.

Milky Way at St Ninian's

The density of stars is far greater near the galactic core , (the lighter parts near the bottom ) Its higher star density is why the galactic core appears so bright and why the regions further away from it appear progressively dimmer.

                    I used a Samyang 24mm lens and a Sony A7s in these photos, most at ISO 4000 at f/2

                           Still plenty to see in the Shetland Night sky even if the Aurora is not visible

Milky Way at Scatness
The galactic core is only visible in Shetland late August , September & early October especially when there is a new moon. This is the prime area for photography.

Capturing the correct colours is a different matter. It is generally accepted that the core band of the Milky Way is a whitish cream colour, not the vivid purples, blues or greens that appear in some photos, but that's the photographer choice when processing.

Don't forget to join us at Shetland Aurora Hunter on facebook

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