Online Astronomy eText: The Sky
The Arc of the Milky Way Link for sharing this page on Facebook
(also see The Milky Way)
     The topmost image below is a 360-degree digitally stitched panoramic view of the Milky Way over Mount Whitney, around 18 hours Local Sidereal Time. In the center of the image, the Milky Way arches upward from Scorpius and Sagittarius, to the left (northward) through the Summer Triangle, then downward through Cassiopeia, on the far left. Jupiter is the bright object below the right (southern) side of the Milky Way, while the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) can be seen below the left (northern) side.
     The purpose of this panorama and a number of similar ones taken at other national parks by the National Park Service is to show the substantial degradation of the night sky at even the remotest of locations by light pollution. Off the right (western) side of the image the sky is lit up by Fresno (85 miles away), while the area below the southern (right-hand) end of the Milky Way is brightly lit by Los Angeles (180 miles away).
     The center image is a similar composite of the Milky Way over Death Valley, also from images taken by the Park Service (over a two-year period) to illustrate light pollution problems. The bottom image is an image of the southern Milky Way over Paranal.
     (Mount Whitney Milky Way: D. Duriscoe, C. Duriscoe, R. Pilewski, & L. Pilewski, U.S. NPS Night Sky Program, apod090827); (Death Valley Milky Way: D. Duriscoe, U.S. National Park Service, apod070508); (Southern Milky Way: H. H. Heyer, ESO)
National Park Service image of the Milky Way as seen from Mount Whitney

National Park Service image of the Milky Way as seen from Death Valley

Image of the Southern Milky Way as seen from Paranal