March 12 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 March 12

Point Reyes Milky Way

Image Credit & Copyright: Dan Zafra

Explanation: Northern winter constellations and a long arc of the Milky Way are setting in this night skyscape looking toward the Pacific Ocean from Point Reyes on planet Earth’s California coast. Sirius, alpha star of Canis Major, is prominent below the starry arc toward the left. Orion’s yellowish Betelgeuse, Aldebaran in Taurus, and the blue tinted Pleiades star cluster also find themselves between Milky Way and northwestern horizon near the center of the scene. The nebulae visible in the series of exposures used to construct this panoramic view were captured in early March, but are just too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. On that northern night their expansive glow includes the reddish semi-circle of Barnard’s Loop in Orion and NGC 1499 above and right of the Pleiades, also known as the California Nebula.