The Milky Way over Writing-on-Stone

A 360° panorama of the Milky Way arching over the sandstone hoodoos of Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta, near the Alberta-Montana border.

The galactic centre in Sagittarius is due south over Montana’s Sweetgrass Hills. Jupiter is bright at right, Saturn is lost amid the starclouds of Sagittarius, while Mars is bright and rising at left of the Milky Way in the southeast. Vega is the bright star at top. The Big Dipper and Polaris are at far left to the north.

Some green bands of airglow colour the sky. The sky at left to the north is bright with perpetual twilight present in the sky from this latitude of 49° N and date of June 8/9, 2018.

The ground is illuminated only by starlight.

Writing-on-Stone Park contains the greatest concentration of rock art on the North American Great Plains. There are over 50 petroglyph sites and thousands of works. The park also showcases a North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) outpost reconstructed on its original site.

The Park is important and sacred to the Blackfoot and many other aboriginal tribes. The Park has been nominated by Parks Canada and the Government of Canada as a World Heritage Site. Its UNESCO application was filed under the name Áísínai’pi which is Niitsítapi (Blackfoot) meaning “it is pictured / written”. The provincial park is synonymous with the Áísínai’pi National Historic Site of Canada.

In Blackfoot (Blackfeet in the U.S.) legend, the Milky Way is known as the Wolf Trail (Makoyohsokoyi) or the Buffalo Trail.

This is a 21-panel panorama, in 3 tiers of 7 panels each, shot with the Nikon D750 and Sigma 20mm Art lens at f/2 with each segment 30 seconds at ISO 6400. The camera was on the Syrp Genie Mini motion controller to automate the horizontal panning and camera operation. Stitching was with PTGui. I shot this about 1:30 am MDT, before the Milky Way came overhead, and in mid-June, to also confine the Milky Way to the eastern sky as an arch in a panorama. This type of Milky Way

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