Sagittarius Star Cloud

Sagittarius Star Cloud

The Sagittarius Star Cloud actually has a few Messier Objects located within it. Star clusters, mainly. As a whole, it is not one giant cluster, but an entire arm of our barred spiral galaxy. Our solar system is located on a different arm, on the interior side of it (facing the galactic center). The SagSC (for short) is located more towards the interior/center of the Milky Way. We are lucky enough to be able to see it.. surrounding dust, invisible to us, blocks a lot of our view. However, there is a window allowing us to spy on this.

It can be hard to see in the photo for a few reasons. One, I am near a small city. Two, it was too “early” (2-3am), and I had to take the photo through the glare of the city lights near the horizon. As the year goes on, it will get higher in the sky in a more timely fashion.. so.. in the photo, begin in the top-left corner and draw a straight light to the bottom-right corner. More or less, the star cloud lies on this line. You can see fuzzy patches, dim clustered stars, and bright stars with glowing dust around it.. and it will almost appear as if someone was walking across this photo carrying a bag of flour with a hole in it. I plan to get up at a better time to get a better picture so I can show it with more detail, but this is still pretty cool.

On a dark night with clear skies, preferably in the boonies, one should be able to see this with the naked eye. It’d look like a dim, smeared cloud – about 4 times the size (across) of the full moon. If you ever see or photo this, remember this is not a cluster.. but an entire arm of our galaxy with several nebulas and star clusters located within in. People say this is one of their favorite spots to look with a telescope. Now I know why.

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