Would you like to discover more about the night sky?

A piercingly bright curtain of stars is the backdrop for this beautiful image taken by astronomer Håkon Dahle. The silhouetted figure in the foreground is Håkon himself surrounded by just a couple of the great dark domes that litter the mountain of ESO’s La Silla Observatory. Many professional astronomers are also keen photographers — and who could blame them? ESO sites in the Atacama Desert are among the best places on Earth for observing the stars, and for the same reason, are amazing places for photographing the night sky. Håkon took these photos while on a week-long observing run at the MPG/ESO 2.2 -telescope. During this time, the telescope was occasionally handed over to a different observing team, giving Håkon the opportunity to admire the starry night — as well as to capture it for the rest of us to see. The Milky Way is brighter in the Southern Hemisphere than in the North, because of the way our planet’s southern regions point towards the dense galactic centre. But even in the South, the Milky Way in the night sky is quite faint in the sky. For most of us, light pollution from our cities and even the Moon can outshine the faint glow of the galaxy, hiding it from view. One of the best aspects of La Silla Observatory is that it is far away from bright city lights, giving it some of the darkest night skies on Earth. The atmosphere is also very clear, so there is no haze to further muddy your vision. The skies at La Silla are so dark that it is possible to see a shadow cast by the light of the Milky Way alone. Håkon submitted this photograph to the Your ESO Pictures Flickr group. The Flickr group is regularly reviewed and the best photos are selected to be featured in our popular Picture of the Week series, or in our gallery.

A piercingly bright curtain of stars is the backdrop for this beautiful image taken by astronomer Håkon Dahle. The silhouetted figure in the foreground is Håkon himself surrounded by just a couple of the great dark domes that litter the mountain of the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory.  (Image credit: H.Dahle/ESO)

 

Stargazing the Night Sky is a short and very informal course is for complete beginners who want to know more about the wonders of the cosmos. The course takes a season by season look at the stars in their constellations and the science and mythology surrounding them. We will look at how to spot satellites and planets too. If you want to experience the amazing objects we can all see at night, this is the course for you.

The course is presented as five weekly lectures on Tuesdays from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, commencing on 28 April 2015 at the Queens University Belfast campus.

For further details on enrolment you can visit the QUB Open Learning website and enrol online at www.qub.ac.uk/ol or contact the Open Learning Office on 9097 3323/3539.

 

 

 


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