Panorama of the Northern Autumn Sky

This is a 360° x 120° panorama of the northern autumn sky and Milky Way, taken from home December 6, 2020 from my latitude of 51° North.

The Milky Way is arching directly overhead at left, with the summer Milky Way in Cygnus setting in the west at far left, and the winter Milky Way and Orion rising in the east at centre. At left across the top is the segment of the Milky Way through Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus and Auriga prominent in the autumn months.

In that part of the Milky Way we are looking out toward the edge of our Galaxy, toward the outer Perseus arm, in the direction opposite the galactic core which is well below the horizon here. The South Galactic Pole area in Sculptor is low in the south just above the horizon at right. So we are looking down out the “bottom” of the plane of he galaxy here, at least for the part of the sky below, or south of, the Milky Way.

A faint band of Zodiacal Light and Zodiacal Band can be seen extending up from the southwest at right and extending along the ecliptic through Mars and toward the Pleiades. The counterglow of the Gegenschein, at the point directly opposite the Sun is partly lost here in the Milky Way in Taurus.

Along the Milky Way we see various red nebulas, regions of star formation, notably the North America Nebula (NGC 7000) at far left, and the California Nebula (NGC 1499) at right above the blue Pleiades star cluster. Along the Milky Way across the top are various IC-catalog nebulas in Cepheus and Cassiopeia. The Orion Nebula is just rising at right of centre.

The bright red object almost due south at right is Mars. At top right, and almost directly overhead in the sky at this time, is the Andromeda Galaxy. Polaris is at left due north, with the Big Dipper low in the north at left.

The sky is tinted with red and green bands of natural airglow, but some low clouds also reflect the artifical glows from towns and highway lights on the horizion. At left, the white glow along the western horizon is fr

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