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Van Gogh's "Starry Night" = Core of the Milky Way

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#1 hokkaido53

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:17 PM

Here is something I hadn't noticed before, but...

The most famous picture of the Milky Way is probably Vincent van Gogh's painting "Starry Night". His impressionistic view of the Sagittarius region consists of the "teapot" stars and a crescent moon in nearby Scorpius.

Does anyone else here see this?

Roy in Maryland

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#2 Kimbo2112

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 08:54 PM

It does look like it; but, I wonder if he was even able to observe Sagittarius where he lived at the time. Unless I am mistaken, I think Sagittarius is not visible north of about 35 degrees North latitude. I have also read that this painting evokes the spirals of AFGL 3068 (carbon spiral). See Astronomy Magazine special issue: '50 Weirdest Objects in the Universe', by Bob Berman (Astronomy.com). Perhaps someone else could clarify this issue for me? Either way, great art should be capable of invoking a subjective, highly personal interpretation of what each person views. In other words, it is, and should be, subjective; there could be as many interpretations of a work of art as their are people who experience it.

#3 mountain monk

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:59 PM

"Starry Nights" was painted at the sanatorium in Saint-Remy in the south of France. It is roughly 43 degrees N, the same as my home in Jackson Hole, WY, a fact that has always impressed me given the difference in climate. In January, I often wish the heck I was in the south of France. Wiki says it was painted looking to the north.

Dark skies.

Jack

#4 joelimite

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:53 AM

Hmmm, but if he's in the northern hemisphere and looking north, then what's the moon doing in the northern part of the sky? It's only visible in the E, SE, S, SW, and W from the northern hemisphere.

#5 mountain monk

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 10:35 AM

Well, I certainly can't answer that! But he painted it the morning and I would guess it is more symbolic that mimetic. Just a guess. Whatever the case, it is one of those paintings that after you see it remains forever etched in your mind.

Dark skies.

Jack

#6 hokkaido53

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:30 PM

It would make sense that the crescent moon would be either in Sagittarius or Scorpius.

#7 hokkaido53

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 01:32 PM

Unless I am mistaken, I think Sagittarius is not visible north of about 35 degrees North latitude.


I think you are mistaken. Last week, I was observing from 41 degrees north, and the entire Teapot asterism was easily above the horizon.






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