Edge-on Milky Way

By: Tunc Tezel


Region: Middle East

Site: Kas - Turkey

Date: 2009 May 26

The Milky Way and the zodiacal light are captured in this all-sky view from Sinekci Pass in Toros Mountains of southern Turkey, on the way to Kas by the Mediterranean coast. The bright summer star Antares in Scorpius rises with the Milky Way at left, while the crescent Moon sets below the zodiacal light. The dust disk extending out to Jupiter's orbit produces a faint glow all along the ecliptic, the path of the sun in the heavens. This known as zodiacal light which decreases in intensity with distance from the Sun, but on very dark nights it has been observed in a band completely around the ecliptic (as visible in this image). In fact, the zodiacal light covers the entire sky, being responsible for 60% of the total skylight on a moonless night.
As noted by the photographer "I was at top of a 2080-meter peak. What I planned to accomplish was to record the Milky Way as close as it could get edge on over the horizon. Perhaps the northern counterpart of fellow TWAN member Stephane Guisard's edge-on Milky Way image. Some of the Milky Way was beyond my reach because of the bright zodiacal light in this season... The highest place around this view is snow-capped Akdag to the northwest, rising 3017 meters. To the south lies Mediterranean Sea, which sometimes can be seen 40 km away." To experience this scene as it was viewed by the photographer see this virtual reality video and allow few moments for the flash file to load. Tunc Tezel

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