Saturday, March 16, 2024

A Starry Night Sky over Gemini North Observatory in Hawaii

A Starry Night Sky over Gemini North Observatory in Hawaii

It is easy to assume that the deep void of outer space is completely dark, given the massive distances between celestial objects, but with the proper technique the truer count of all these objects becomes visible. Gemini North, one half of the International Gemini Observatory, operated by the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab, beholds this ethereal view of the brimming sky. With our naked eyes, we can see about 6,000 stars, out of around 200 billion in the Milky Way. And this does not include many other astronomical objects!

At the bottom of this image, the dense cloud deck below Gemini North’s position suppresses light pollution from neighboring cities. This blanket facilitates a substantially darker and clearer night, and light from fainter stars can more easily be captured. Appearing like a reflection of the clouds, the Milky Way itself is visible on the Hawaiian horizon. Also at the horizon, a bright band glows from the right half of the image—this is sunlight reflecting off of interplanetary dust, creating zodiacal light. On the opposite side of the horizon shines a splash of backscattered sunlight called the gegenschein.

The 8.1-meter diameter optical/infrared North Gemini Telescope is located on Hawaii‘s Maunakea as part of the international community of observatories built to take advantage of the superb atmospheric conditions on this long-dormant volcano that rises about 4,214 meters (13,825 feet) into the dry, stable air of the Pacific.

Learn more here:

Credit: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/National Science Foundation (NSF)/Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)/J. Chu

Release Date: March 6, 2024    

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Earth #LightPollution #ZodiacalLight #Gegenschein #Stars #Galaxies #MilkyWayGalaxy #Cosmos #Universe #InternationalGeminiObservatory #GeminiNorthTelescope #NOIRLab #AURA #NSF #Maunakea #Hawaii #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

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