Bok Stands Tall Under the Milky Way

The glittering Milky Way reaches over the UArizona Bok 2.3-meter Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. The Bok telescope was named after astronomer Bart Bok, a previous director of Steward Observatory, part of the University of Arizona. It is one of the largest optical telescopes at Kitt Peak operated solely by Steward Observatory.

Within the band of the Milky Way, just right of the Bok telescope, the constellation Orion (The Hunter) can be identified by its distinctive three-star belt. Just below the belt is the Orion Nebula (Messier 42), marking Orion’s sword. To the right of Orion at a 45 degree angle is the constellation Taurus (The Bull), notable by its V-shape of bright stars. To the right of Taurus, ‘defended’ from Orion, are the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters), an open star cluster also known as Messier 45. The glowing red regions around these stars are caused by shockwaves from newly formed stars that have excited clouds of molecular hydrogen, which appear prominently, as in this image, when using deep photographic techniques.

On the left side of the horizon the light from the city of Nogales in this remote part of Arizona illuminates the distinctive form of the McMath–Pierce Solar Telescope — what was for many decades the largest solar telescope in the world. On the other side of the image, the sky is illuminated not by human-made light, but by nature-powered airglow in the atmosphere. Piercing the Milky Way is the zodiacal light — a faint glow of scattered sunlight from dust in the Solar System. 

This photo was taken as part of the recent NOIRLab 2022 Photo Expedition to all the NOIRLab sites. Tomáš Slovinský, the photographer, is a NOIRLab Audiovisual Ambassador.



About the Image

Release date:Feb. 14, 2024, noon
Size:13904 x 12934 px

About the Object

Image Formats

Large JPEGLarge JPEG
38.1 MB
Screensize JPEGScreensize JPEG
360.6 KB



271.9 KB
457.8 KB
697.5 KB
888.7 KB
4.0 MB