The Milky Way, Grand Tetons and Big Dipper

July 05, 2008


Provided by: Wally Pacholka
Summary Author: Wally Pacholka

The photo above shows a breathtaking panoramic view of the night sky over the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. It was taken in July of 2007, as the Milky Way and Jupiter set in the western sky. I was in the Tetons because of my association with The World at Night (TWAN), a group of astrophotographers dedicated to sharing the night sky of key world landmark sites in the spirit of international friendship. The bright first magnitude star Arcturus (aka Alpha Boötis) is at center, just above the silhouetted mountain tops, while the Big Dipper is in the northern sky at bottom right. Note that the handle of the Dipper points to Arcturus. The Big Dipper is also known as The Great Bear. The word Arcturus is from the Greek for “bear guard”. This shot covers almost the entire sky and was achieved by taking six side by side photos, seconds apart. Each photograph includes about 30 degrees of earth and sky stitched together by a photo lab.