A Pantheon Above WIYN

The Milky Way and colorful celestial objects stretch over Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab, in this image of the WIYN 3.5-meter Telescope. This telescope is used to hunt for and characterize exoplanets with the NEID (pronounced NOO-id, rhymes with “fluid”) spectrograph, a state-of-the-art instrument for highly precise measurements of stellar movements.

Above the WIYN telescope is a pantheon of constellations and their stellar companions. To the left, near the tree, is the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, that indicates the constellation Canis Major (the Great Dog). To its right is the constellation Orion (the Hunter) marked by the bright red supergiant star Betelgeuse of Orion’s ‘right shoulder’ and three inline stars that form his ‘belt’. The glowing red regions in the constellation are part of the Orion molecular cloud complex. Shockwaves from newly formed stars excite these and other areas of molecular hydrogen, which then appear prominently, like in this image, using proper photographic techniques. Further to the right, above the WIYN telescope, is the constellation Taurus (the Bull) and the open star cluster Messier 45, also known as the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters). Above the Milky Way is the constellation Gemini (the Twins), evident from the two brightest stars at the top of the image that are the twins’ ‘heads’.

This photo was taken as part of the recent NOIRLab 2022 Photo Expedition to all the NOIRLab sites.


KPNO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Horálek (Institute of Physics in Opava)


About the Image

Release date:Aug. 16, 2023, 2 p.m.
Size:17072 x 11963 px

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