For a brief and shining moment, this week’s lunar eclipse allowed a stunning view of our lovely home, the Milky Way galaxy.
Video of the spectacular event was captured by the Gemini Observatory’s All-Sky camera at its facilities on Hilo, Hawaii. In the three seconds at approximately 5:30 PM local time that the Sun, Earth, and Moon aligned and thus placed the Moon in our planet’s shadow (known as the totality), it was dark enough for the far reaches of our galaxy to be viewed from Gemini’s powerful telescope.
The All-sky camera at @GeminiObs South got a pretty good view of the Lunar eclipse last night! Note the very sharp decrease in brightness between 12-17 seconds! #discovertogether #Eclipse #EclipseLunar #Eclipse2022 @NOIRLabAstro @NOIRLabAstroES pic.twitter.com/raOZFa9RyT
— US National Gemini Office (@usngo) May 16, 2022
Apparently, one didn’t even need Gemini’s uber-powerful telescopic camera to see the Milky Way during the eclipse, either.
Multiple photographers posted the images they captured of the spectacular event — and one Canadian photog even got a spectacular panorama of both the Milky Way and the Aurora Borealis in one shot.
Milky Way, Lunar Eclipse and the Aurora Borealis in one photo! How can a night get any better?!
11:39PM CST, 05/15/2022@TamithaSkov @TweetAurora @CBCManitoba @ctvwinnipeg @TravelManitoba @TourismWestman pic.twitter.com/DGa8LEtXjd
— High Hopes Aurora w/ Justin Anderson (@AuroraJAnderson) May 17, 2022
This eclipse also presented an opportunity for notorious scientific wonder-denier Neil deGrasse Tyson to insist that eclipses are altogether “un-spectacular” — which caused a number of irked responses from skywatchers, as well as, uh, the Wendy’s fast food chain.
As one of said responders noted, seeing the Milky Way isn’t all that uncommon — but that doesn’t make it any less awe-inspiring.
“The Milky Way can be seen most nights in the summer if you’re away from light pollution,” they wrote, “and I’m in awe every time I see it.”
Take that, Neil!
More skywatching: Remember When the Sun Shot a Ball of Plasma at the Earth? It Hit and Caused a Beautiful Aurora
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