The Closest Place to the Stars

By: Stephane Guisard


Region: Americas

Site: Chimborazo - Ecuador

Date: May 2010

The Milky Way above Chimborazo volcano in Ecuador. In this wide field image the central bulge of the galaxy is visible on the upper right where the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius are located. With an altitude of 6268 meters, Chimborazo is the highest summit in Ecuador but it also has a world record. While the top of Mount Everest (8850 m) is the highest point on the planet, Chimborazo is known as the farthest location from the center of the Earth. Because the Earth is not a perfect sphere and bulged a little toward its equator and as Chimborazo is very close to the equator (at latitude -1 degree in latitude) it stands on the planet equatorial bulge and compared to Everest has about 2km more distance from the Earth's center. In other word the peak of Chimborazo is the closest point on our planet to the stars! As noted by the photographer "The image is a mosaic of 28 photos in order to cover all the sky with a fast 35 mm lens. I chosed this unusual projection to show a 'flat' Milky Way not deformed by typical all sky projection and to make really the Milky Way looks like what it is : a galaxy. There are no computer composition in this image, it is a true mosaic done on site, at an altitude of 5000 meters, in a very dark and cold situation." Stephane Guisard -

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