Nighttime on a strange alien world (or possibly Nevada)

Illustration for article titled Nighttime on a strange alien world (or possibly Nevada)

Between those bizarre structures, the impossible colors up in the night sky, and the fact that this photo was apparently taken in the middle of a busy star cluster, how can this not be from some far distant alien world?


The answer, it seems, is when you're looking in just the right direction at some 19th century kilns. A NASA astronomer explains:

Built in the 1870s in rural Nevada to process local wood into charcoal, the kilns were soon abandon due to a town fire and flooding, but remain in good condition even today. The above panorama is a digital conglomerate of five separate images taken in early June from the same location.

Visible above the unusual kilns is a colorful star field, highlighted by the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy appearing along a diagonal toward the lower right. Many famous sites in our Galaxy are visible, including the Pipe Nebula and the Dark River to Antares, seen to the right of the Milky Way.


Via NASA. Image by Tom McEwan.

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I'm not sure if I will ever need it, but now I know what a kiln is....