12 June 2014

The Milky Way from Tabuk – Photos by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson sent me a couple of beautiful images of the Milky Way he had taken in Tabuk recently and has kindly allowed me to use them on my website. Please be aware the copyright of these photos belongs to Viv Wilson. Viv said the photo was taken towards the south and the black lines are dust lines. There is a meteor in each photo as well as a couple of satellites. The photos contain Scorpio, Sagittarius and Aquila and were taken with a Canon 6D and a Samyang 14mm 2.8 lens at 30 seconds with ISO8000. One of the good things about living in Saudi Arabia is light pollution is low as the landmass is large and population relatively small, which allows good views of the stars. The Milky Way is a large spiral galaxy with the Sun and its planets including Earth lying in a quiet part of the galaxy, about half way out from the centre. The Milky Way spiral rotates once every 230 million years and is made up of at least 100 billion stars, as well as dust and gas. It is so big that light takes 100 000 years to cross from one side to the other. Unlike a regular spiral, the Milky Way is a barred spiral and contains a bar across its center region, and has two major arms, two significant minor arms, as well as two smaller spurs. One of the spurs, known as the Orion Arm, contains the sun and the solar system. The Orion arm is located between two major arms, Perseus and Sagittarius. Tucked inside the very center of the galaxy, like most galaxys is an enormous black hole that consumes whatever stars it can. The Milky Way contains over 200 billion stars, and enough dust and gas to make billions more with more than half the stars found in the Milky Way being older than the 4.5 billion year old sun.