wide field astrophotography
The Milky Way Galaxy is special indeed. After all, it is our home galaxy. Beyond that, it is really quite typical of a barred spiral galaxy with billions of other similar galaxies in the universe. Our planet Earth is located in one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way (the Orion Arm) which lies about two-thirds of the way out from the centre of the Galaxy. The Milky Way is estimated to be about 100,000 light years across (~590 quadrillion miles) and contains around 100 thousand million stars.
Deneb and the North America Nebula stand out in this look at the Cygnus Region of the Milky Way.
Looking towards the the bottom centre-right of the frame is the constellation Cygnus with the bright stars Deneb and Fawaris, the North America Nebula and the Pelican Nebula. Moving towards the top and middle of the frame is the constellation Cepheus with the bright star Alderamin and the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula. Next, over to the upper left of the frame is the constellation Cassiopeia with the bright stars Caph, Shedar and Navi. Lastly at the middle-left of the image is the Andromeda Galaxy.
Scutum Star Cloud
The fifth smallest constellation, Scutum lies in the southern sky. Its name means “the shield” in latin.
The main part of this image includes a particularly bright part of the milky way called the Scutum Star Cloud. The bright orange star just below centre-right is Alpha Scuti (α Scuti). It is the brightest star in the constellation and is almost 200 light years from earth. Also prominent in the frame is the Wild Duck Cluster (aka M11) which can be seen just to the left of the star cloud. M11 is an open star cluster located around 6120 light years from earth. Slightly smaller and seen just below the star cloud is M26. This open cluster is located about 5160 light years away. This extremely rich part of the night sky is home to many other wonders. If you look closely you can also see the globular cluster NGC 6712, open clusters NGC 6649 and 6664, the planetary nebula IC 1295 and the Blue Reflection Nebula (IC 1287).