Stairway to the Stars

In this image it looks as though you could run up this white stair-like path and dive straight into a rippling pool of stars. In fact, the steep structure is the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope, based at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. The swirling effect of the stars is the result of a clever astrophotography technique, where an extremely long exposure is used to take an image. In this case, however, multiple short exposures were captured and combined in post-processing. Over several hours, the rotation of the Earth produces an imaging effect called star trails which record the motion of the stars across the sky. The McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope is no longer observing the Sun, but the interior of the facility is currently being renovated to become the Windows on the Universe Center for Astronomy Outreach.

Credit:

KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/R. T. Sparks

About the Image

Id:iotw2046a
Type:Photographic
Release date:Nov. 10, 2020, 8:48 p.m.
Size:5184 x 3456 px

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