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The Heaven's Trail

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Moosh
936753.  Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:34 pm Reply with quote

I've been seeing this photo pop up a lot over the internet


Usually with the caption "There's this place in Ireland where every 2 years, the stars line up with this trail on June 10th-June 18th. It's called the Heaven's Trail."

I thought this was cool so I tried to find out more about it, but my searching just found more instances of the same photo with the same caption. Surely something like this would be documented elsewhere?

Is it just bollocks or does anyone know if this actually exists?

 
CB27
936760.  Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:28 pm Reply with quote

A simple test:

When viewing the picture on a tumblr blog, see where it's sourced from, go to the home page of that source and the answer will be revealed.

:D

 
mckeonj
936856.  Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:50 am Reply with quote

There is indeed a place in Ireland, named bru na bainne (the abode of the Milky Way, modern name Newgrange), although it looks nothing like the picture shown above, and the alignment is with a certain star group, (modern name Orion), the Lord of the Northern Winter, and not with our galaxy's edge
The place in the picture would have to be close to the Equator for the galaxy to appear vertical on the dates given, just before the summer solstice. Orion is Lord of the Summer, south of the equator.
If the human figure has climbed a flight of steps to the viewing position, the steps could be on a stepped pyramid
These factors would place it in meso-america.

I have not checked the source of the picture as suggested.
Maybe it is just a Photoshop Phantasy*

*alternative spelling is correct

 
djgordy
936863.  Mon Sep 03, 2012 8:02 am Reply with quote

Moosh wrote:


Usually with the caption "There's this place in Ireland where every 2 years, the stars line up with this trail on June 10th-June 18th. It's called the Heaven's Trail."


I'm struggling to think of any reason why they wouldn't line up every year.

 
Janet H
937130.  Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:24 pm Reply with quote

I'm wondering why the stars don't have trails. Yes, modern camers can catch a lot of low light detail, but come on..... both on the same exposure? - I think not!

 
cornixt
937132.  Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:13 pm Reply with quote

The clouds are lit in such a way that it would be impossible for the stars to be visible like that at the same time. It's possible that it is the merging of two shots taken in the same place at different times, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone just took two completely unrelated but cool photos and merged them together.

Where is the light coming from on the path? It looks almost as if there is an invisible flying saucer overhead!

 
mckeonj
937140.  Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:58 pm Reply with quote


This is the main component of the mystic picture.
It is a straightforward astronomical photograph of the 'Milky Way', which is the edge of our home galaxy. The obliquity indicates that it was taken in northern latitudes. The small streak at bottom centre is a Perseid meteor, indicating mid August as the season.
The blackish shapes at top right corner and centre left may be foliage, the artist who produced the mystic picture has used the shape at top right corner as his 'mountain top'. The spotlight effect around the gazer may be intended to represent the first rays of the rising sun occluded by a cleft in the hills behind. He has obviously rotated and cropped the image.
The picture and the accompanying text are quite clever, but a complete fiction. Nice bit of fantasy artwork.

 
tetsabb
937236.  Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:35 am Reply with quote

Of course it is fiction -- a clear sky? In Ireland?
Pfft!
:-)

 
Starfish13
937455.  Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:55 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
Moosh wrote:
Usually with the caption "There's this place in Ireland where every 2 years, the stars line up with this trail on June 10th-June 18th. It's called the Heaven's Trail."

I'm struggling to think of any reason why they wouldn't line up every year.


Wouldn't they also line up for only a small part of the night, or am I being a bit of a bimbo and getting some completely different things muddled up? Don't all stars rise and set on opposite horizons, like the sun?

I've seen some long-exposure photographs of the night sky, where the movement of the stars leaves a long trail in their wake. Usually the pictures are centred on polaris (if the northern hemisphere) to give the impression of the rotation of the Earth around its axis.

 
Leith
937537.  Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:56 pm Reply with quote

Starfish13 wrote:
Wouldn't they also line up for only a small part of the night, or am I being a bit of a bimbo and getting some completely different things muddled up? Don't all stars rise and set on opposite horizons, like the sun?

Yes, the Milky Way will move across the night sky as the stars rise and set*, as these short time-lapse videos nicely illustrate:
- YouTube: Milky Way Time Lapse Video (Death Valley)
- YouTube: Timelapse Southern Galactic plane (San Pedro de Atacama, Chile)

I guess the degree of rotation would depend on season and latitude, or something like that.

* [Edit: to be more precise, they won't all rise and set exactly - as Starfish notes, the celestial poles will stay put, and those stars close enough to the poles will remain visible as they rotate around them (from suitable latitudes, at least)]

...and just because it's pretty, here's a collection of such scenes from South Dakota, set to music:
Vimeo: Tempest Milky Way, by Randy Halverson

From night to night, the constellations will move roughly horizontally across the sky, completing a circuit over the course of the year at just under one degree per night. This page has an animation showing the progression of the Chicago night sky through the seasons: link

You should therefore get the same alignment on the same night of each year to within a degree. I suppose you'd get closer alignments still if you compared the skies every four years (with 365 1/4 days per year, I think a given point on the Earth should be facing the same part of the galaxy, at the same time of night, once in each leap year cycle). Not sure how you'd ever get a two yearly cycle unless the symmetry of the galactic plane came into play somehow.

After browsing through time-lapse videos for the past hour or so, I'm rather taken with the idea of going to star-gazing parties, like the chap who made this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8R-GCrumlI

 
ThomasZ
938437.  Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:04 am Reply with quote

Moosh wrote:
I've been seeing this photo pop up a lot over the internet

Usually with the caption "There's this place in Ireland where every 2 years, the stars line up with this trail on June 10th-June 18th. It's called the Heaven's Trail."

I thought this was cool so I tried to find out more about it, but my searching just found more instances of the same photo with the same caption. Surely something like this would be documented elsewhere?

Is it just bollocks or does anyone know if this actually exists?


Hi there, my name is Thomas, I am the original photographer. My web site is here: http://500px.com/ThomasZ and this is a direct link to the image: http://500px.com/photo/2003025

A Tumblr user has copied the image, removed all copyright information from the EXIF data and reposted it under another title without any credit to me. Instead, there was a fantasy story about a place in Ireland added where the stars align every two years bla bla.

Now I see my image everywhere floating around the internet with a wrong title, all this nonsense about this place in Ireland and so on. This makes me sad. I try to fight against this ongoing copyright violations, but it is a neverending story.

The image is NOT made from several shots. You can read a blog entry about it here: http://500px.com/ThomasZ/stories/53311/the-making-of-my-god-it-s-full-of-stars

Thomas

 
Starfish13
938440.  Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:12 am Reply with quote

Hi Thomas, welcome to Qi. Its a stunning picture, absolutely beautiful. Sorry that you've had to deal with all the problems with it and all the guff that they've written about it. I liked your explaination of the shot in you blog, which lets the image speak for itself without the nonsense of the caption.

 
Jenny
938487.  Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:00 am Reply with quote

Thomas - are you OK with giving us permission to keep your picture up on our site, as we seem to have inadvertently breached your copyright? If you would prefer us to remove it, we will do so immediately.

I'll send you a private message as well, in case you don't see this.

 
ThomasZ
938508.  Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:54 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Thomas - are you OK with giving us permission to keep your picture up on our site, as we seem to have inadvertently breached your copyright? If you would prefer us to remove it, we will do so immediately.

I'll send you a private message as well, in case you don't see this.


Jenny, thank you very much, but as I wrote in the PM, the copied image is hosted at pinterest.com - I have to deal with them. It is not necessary to remove the link here.

 
mckeonj
938544.  Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:35 pm Reply with quote

Open message to ThomasZ
I agree it is a stunning picture, a classic!
I have read your blog account of the making of the picture, which is fascinating.
Can you comment on the extraordinary corresondences between your image and the astronomical photograph which I posted in this thread earlier, for example the meteor trails?
Can you comment on the observation that the milky way, which lies on the galactic plane, would only appear verical if viewed from a location in the equatorial region between the tropics, at certain times in the year, and not from northern latitudes?
These questions are not intended to detract from the stunning beauty of your image, or to offend you.
Call it professional curiosity.
Regards
John McKeon, FRMS, Limerick, Ireland

 

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