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The total lunar eclipse this weekend has given rise to magnificent images published by amateurs and astronomy professionals. The spectacle was all the more lavish as the eclipse for a brief moment offered observers a breathtaking view of the Milky Way, especially captured by the Gemini South telescope located in Chile.
As some internet users have pointed out, the Milky Way can be admired most summer nights if you are far from light pollution. This weekend’s event is no less spectacular. Around 5.30pm local Chile time, with the Sun, Earth and Moon perfectly aligned, it was dark enough for the Gemini Telescope’s All-Sky Camera to have a direct view of our galaxy.
A telescope of this power, however, was not necessary to enjoy the spectacle. Several amateur astronomers have also been able to capture magnificent images of our galaxy. A Canadian photographer even got a spectacular panorama of the Milky Way and the Northern Lights in a single image.
An event you must not miss
You may be one of those who got up at dawn on Monday to admire the lunar eclipse. In France, the event began at. 03.32, and the eclipse became total late at night, from kl. 05.29, with a maximum of 06.08 – our satellite was then completely red. Fortunately, the weather conditions were favorable: the sky was completely clear. And a few hours later, the web was filled with pictures of the phenomenon, which here is a small example of:
” It is very exciting to see a white and radiant moon get a red and off shade within minutes “, told Huffington Post Florent Deleflie, astronomer at the Paris PSL Observatory.
The photo taken by Justin Anderson is also worth the detour: this Canadian photographer managed in a single photo to gather the glowing moon, the Milky Way and the Northern Lights. An absolutely fantastic sight:
Passengers on the International Space Station could also admire the event, but from a completely different point of view. Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian astronaut for the European Space Agency, shared one of her photos on her Twitter account. A photograph that is not so easy to take, despite this unique observation point where the solar panels on the ISS prevent the spectacle, she confides.
An eclipse that reveals yet another sight
The video, which shows a glimpse of our Milky Way, shared on Twitter by the Gemini Observatory Office, is also striking. Note the significant decrease in brightness between 12 and 17 seconds:
The all-sky camera at @GeminiObs South got a pretty good view of the lunar eclipse last night! Notice the very sharp drop in brightness between 12-17 seconds! #discover together #Eclipse #EclipseLunar # Eclipse2022 @NOIRLabAstro @NOIRLabAstroES pic.twitter.com/raOZFa9RyT
– US National Gemini Office (@usngo) May 16, 2022
The curved arc of our galaxy appears very clearly as soon as the Moon “goes out”, and then becomes invisible again as soon as the eclipse ends. We can also admire it in these two magnificent pictures:
The Milky Way is a so-called sprossed spiral galaxy (meaning that the “arms” of the spiral do not emerge from the center, but from a band of stars that cross this center). Seen from Earth, it looks like a band of stars forming an arc of about 30 ° as our solar system sits right at the edge of its disk-like structure. Unfortunately, many of us can not see it due to urban light pollution (when it is not the Moon’s brightness that interferes with the observations). Only the moonless sky in a land area can make it possible to observe such a sight.