Glencoe Aurora Arch
This is a panorama made up of 40 separate photographs stitched together to form this photography of a Milky Way Arch over ‘Buachaille Etive Mor’. Glencoe is such a special place to spend some time and is somewhere I love to go and walk at night with my dogs and cameras. This trip was my first after being unable to work for months due to a lifechanging eye injury and after months of wondering if I was going to be able to continue being a photographer. Well the universe gave me a sign and I had such a special couple of nights watching beautiful sights such as aurora, zodiacal light, inversions, shooting stars and the Galactic Core, most of which I got in this panorama!
To the right of shot you can see the lights of the Kingshouse Hotel and the A82 snaking its way through the glen. Above this you can see the Galactic Core of our Milky Way galaxy. This is a view to the very centre of our galaxy where amongst the massive clouds of dust and gas lies a Supermassive Black Hole named Sagittarius A*. Located 26,000 light years away Sagittarius A* is the very centre of our galaxy and it has a mass of 4 million times the mass of our own sun. You can also see the Aurora Borealis starting to build and to show some beautiful colours to the right of the shot. The aurora happens when a Mass Coronal Ejection happens and flings comic particles through space from our sun. These particles hit the magnetic field of Earth and ionise, making these beautiful colours of aurora as it dances across the sky. It’s a sight I never tire of.
Above the core lies the constellation of Cassiopeia and after that, The Double Cluster. The Double Cluster is actually 2 massive open star clusters located 7500 light years away from us on Earth. The glow you can see coming from behind Buachaille Etive Mor (The Buckle) is a rare phenomenon called Zodiacal light. This is the light from the sun setting around the globe and shining its light through dust clouds in space on its solar plane, causing this beautiful Zodiacal light.
You can also see Andromeda, our sister galaxy and the most distant object visible to the naked eye that’s not in our galaxy. Andromeda is a massive Barred Spiral Galaxy containing a Trillion stars and lying at a distance of 2.537 million light years away. Andromeda is around 2-3 times larger than our own galaxy (250-500 billion stars) and in 3.4-4.5 Billion years our two galaxies will collide and form a new supermassive elliptical galaxy as currently they are hurtling towards each other at 300,000 miles an hour through space.
Above left of The Buckle lies ‘The Seven Sisters’, also know as ‘The Pleiades Cluster’ and to the left of this lies the beautiful winter constellation of ‘Orion’, also known as ‘The Hunter’. Orion is visible here in the winter months and as spring arrives and more of the Galactic Core becomes visible for the summer months. Orion is made up of a number of stars, most noticeably Betelgeuse, a Supermassive Red Giant 750 times the size of our sun. Betelgeuse is one of the largest stars visible to the naked eye. If it were at the center of our Solar System, its surface would lie beyond the asteroid belt and it would engulf the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Betelgeuse is the 9th brightest star in the sky and the second brightest in Orion. Rigel, the brightest is a triple star system and the 7th brightest star in our sky. If you look at Orion and imagine the belt and then the sword you can clearly see M42, ‘The Orion Nebula’. Nebulae lie all over the night sky if you know where to look but The Orion Nebula is the brightest. M42 lies 1344 light year from us on Earth and is 24 light years across. It’s made up of massive clouds of dust and gas and is a Stellar nursery, where new stars are born.
Lastly, we can see Sirius, ‘The Dog Star’, the brightest star in our sky which is located in the constellation of Canis Major (The Greater Dog). This is the bright star bottom left of the panorama.
A stunning night to be in Glencoe. Only available as a limited edition panorama framed, acrylic or metal
Full Starmap and description included