Friday, October 1, 2010

Astrophoto Friday - the Milky Way & Light Pollution

You may recall that back in August I posted a photo of the Perseid Meteor Shower over Palomar's Hale Telescope taken by astronomer Iair Arcavi. You might also recall his Two Nights at the Palomar Observatory YouTube video.

Iair has processed of some the imagery he shot those two nights to produce this dramatic panorama of the Milky Way over the Hale Telescope.

His composite image is made from 14 separate exposures.

Compare it to the other panorama image of the Hale and the Milky Way - Wally Pacholka's Milky Way over Palomar you'll notice some dramatic differences.

Apart from the way the the two images were processed, the weather was very different on the two nights.

In the image taken by Wally there were a few clouds in the sky and a vast sea of them below Palomar Mountain. The low clouds are not visible in his image, but they effectively dimmed the city lights.

Iair's image there were no low clouds blocking the city lights making the ugly glow of light pollution easily visible. Notice how the light of the Milky Way galaxy is vanquished by the bright glow of the many lights in San Diego and Riverside Counties. There is even a smaller glow on the right produced by the lights of Palm Springs.

Because Nature does not always bring in the low clouds that protect Palomar Observatory's view of the universe, we ask all our neighbors to help do their part by making sure that nighttime lights are properly shielded and turned off when not absolutely needed.


jg said...

Trying. Still trying. There are a lot of lights and people on autopilot. A light you can see is still a habitual choice over a light you can see by.


Anonymous said...

The upper photo is amazing. Is it available as a poster?
Best regards,
British Interplanetary Society

Scott Kardel said...

Not yet Philip. I hope it will be some day.