great sky river
Throughout the ages, the Milky Way has hung above humanity in the sky — a beautiful marvel shining steadily each night.
Nowadays, most city-bound folks rarely see the full splendor of our home galaxy stretching across the heavens.
The Milky Way is the galaxy that includes our solar system, with the name describing the galaxy’s appearance from earth — a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye.
The Milky Way is visible from Earth as a hazy band of white light, some 30° wide, arching across the night sky. In night sky observing, although all the individual naked-eye stars in the entire sky are part of the Milky Way Galaxy, the term “Milky Way” is limited to this band of light.
There are many myths and legends about the origin of the Milky Way, the crowd of stars that makes a distinctive bright streak across the night sky.
There is an enchanting ancient folktale about the origin of the Milky Way that has circulated among the people of China for more than two thousand years. It is the Chinese legend of the Weaver Princess who came down from heaven to marry a mortal — a love story embodied in the stars of the Milky Way.
In summer, people honor the weaver princess and her earthly husband with a feast. If it rains that night, they say the princess is crying because she must say good-bye to her husband.
On a clear night, the bridge of birds across the ‘Silver River’ shines brightly — lighting up the night sky. The star that astronomers call Vega in the constellation Lyra is the weaver princess, and the stair Altair in the constellation Aquila is her mortal husband.
Lucky for sky gazers and star lovers all over the world we can enjoy these awesome images of the winners of the 2021 Milky Way Photographer of the Year competition from the travel and photography site Capture the Atlas.
We can still all be so wonder struck and awe inspired.