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Mars, Antares, and the Milky Way by Rick Saunders

Photo of the Week for May 20, 2016

Mars, Antares, and the Milky Way by Rick SaundersOntario photographer Rick Saunders captured this striking scene on May 4, 2016, while attending the Texas Star Party, held annually at the Prude Ranch, near Fort Davis, Texas. The most conspicuous objects in the picture is Mars (upper right, and at the time nearly three weeks from opposition) and Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius. It’s appropriate that the two should appear together since the star’s name, derived from the ancient Greek, means “like Mars,” though other sources interpret Antares to mean “rival of Mars.” Either way, the planet and star will keep each other company throughout the summer and have a close encounter at the end of August. Also prominent is the globular cluster M4 (to the right of Antares) as well as light and dark nebulosity set against a rich Milky Way star field.

Rick’s photo combines ten, 2-minute exposures at ISO 1600, recorded with a Nikon D810a DSLR camera fitted with a Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 lens set to f/4.

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