photo voie lactée éclipse lune

Une vue incroyable de la Voie lactée dévoilée par la récente éclipse lunaire

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The total lunar eclipse this weekend has given rise to magnificent shots published by amateurs and professionals of astronomy. The spectacle was all the more sumptuous as for a brief moment, the eclipse offered observers a breathtaking view of the Milky Way, captured in particular 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 any light pollution. This weekend’s event is no less spectacular. At around 5:30 p.m. local Chile time, when the Sun, Earth, and Moon were perfectly aligned, it was dark enough for the Gemini Telescope’s All-Sky Camera to have a direct view of the far reaches 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 shot.

An event not to be missed

You may be one of those who got up at dawn on Monday to admire the lunar eclipse. In France, the event began at 3:32 a.m. and the eclipse became total at the end of the night, from 5:29 a.m., with a maximum at 6:08 a.m. – our satellite was then completely red. Luckily, the weather conditions were favourable: the sky was perfectly clear. And a few hours later, the Web was full of photos of the phenomenon, of which here is a small preview:

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

It is very intriguing to see a white and brilliant Moon take, over the minutes, a red and extinguished hue “, told the 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 to bring together in a single shot the glowing moon, the Milky Way and the northern lights. An absolutely magnificent spectacle:

eclipse moon aurora borealis
© Twitter/Justin Anderson (@AuroraJAnderson)

Passengers on the International Space Station were also able to 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 not so easy to take, despite this exceptional place of observation, the solar panels of the ISS obstructing the spectacle, she confides.

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

An eclipse that reveals another spectacle

The video showing a glimpse of our Milky Way, shared on Twitter by the Gemini Observatory Office, is also striking. Notice the significant dip in brightness between 12 and 17 seconds:

The curved arc of our galaxy appears very clearly as soon as the Moon “goes out”, then becomes invisible again as soon as the eclipse ends. We can also admire it on these two magnificent photos:

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

The Milky Way is a so-called barred spiral galaxy (which means that the “arms” of the spiral do not emerge from the center but from a band of stars which crosses this center). Seen from Earth, it looks like a band of stars forming an arc of about 30°, as our solar system sits just at the edge of its disc-like structure. Unfortunately, many of us cannot see it due to urban light pollution (when it is not the luminosity of the Moon that interferes with observations). Only the moonless sky of a rural area can make it possible to observe such a spectacle.

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