An incredible view of the Milky Way revealed by the recent lunar eclipse

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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:

Top left: a snapshot taken by Philippe Contal from the Hérault Valley at 4:36; the eclipse was only partial in this area and the glow could not be observed. Top right: snapshot taken by Mariusz Krukar from Poland; the moon sets behind the Tatra Mountains in the Carpathians. Bottom left: Snapshot taken by Juergen K. Klimpke from Germany. Bottom right: Snapshot by John Kraus, from Space Coast, Florida. © Twitter / Philippe Contal / Mariusz Krukar / Juergen K. Klimpke / John Kraus

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:

© Twitter / Justin Anderson (@AuroraJAnderson)

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.

Lunar eclipse seen from the International Space Station. © Twitter / Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha)

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 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:

Left: Photo taken by Imanol Zuaznabar, where the eclipse dominates Teide, a stratovolcano located on the island of Tenerife. Right: Photo by James Brunker over the waterfalls of Hampaturi, Bolivia. © Twitter / Imanol Zuaznabar / James Brunker

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 cannot 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.

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