Look up! Our Milky Way has a stunning new look. Canadian photographer Christian Sasse captured the featured image and the blog’s new backdrop of our galaxy seemingly spiraling through the dense, glittering night sky.
Sasse made the image…from a series of 30-second-long exposures, each taken 50 minutes apart, over 10 hours on April 28, Nadia Drake writes in National Geographic.
“He stacked those photographs using Startrails software, and then edited the final composite image using Photoshop,” Drake continues in her piece.
Our blog’s namesake– the beautiful, vast, Milky Way– has significance in the field of maternal child health.
While researching classical breastfeeding images for their Icons of Breastfeeding presentation, Healthy Children Project’s Cindy Turner-Maffei and Karin Cadwell came across art like Tintoretto’s The Origin of the Milky Way and Rubens’s Birth of the Milky Way.
“We were thrilled to find that the milk of a Goddess was thought by ancient peoples to be the source of our Galaxy,” Turner-Maffei begins. “This concurs with our view that breastfeeding is a core experience of human life.”
She and Cadwell retold the classic Milky Way story in their book Case Studies in Breastfeeding: Problem-Solving Skills & Strategies:
[Jacopo Tintoretto’s beautiful painting, The Origin of the Milky Way, depicts] “the Greek God Zeus (Roman name Jupiter) bringing baby Herakles (Hercules) to suckle at the breast of the sleeping Goddess Hera (Juno), Zeus’s wife. Zeus wants Herakles to receive the milk of a goddess, because it bestows immortal life, and will make Herakles into a god. Zeus anticipates that Hera will not willingly provide her milk to his love child [born to mortal woman Alcmena]. Therefore, he tries to sneak up on her while she is sleeping. However, foreshadowing his adult strength, the baby Herakles attaches forceably to Hera’s breast, awakening her. Hera reacts by pushing the baby off her breast. Her milk spurts forth into the heavens, and creates the stars of what becomes our galaxy, the Milky Way.” (Cadwell & Turner-Maffei, 2004, p. xi)
Mario Livio tells a similar rendition in Our Home Galaxy: Myths and Facts.
We were thrilled when Healthy Children Project’s media guru Judy Blatchford secured licensing for the use of Sasse’s stellar image on Our Milky Way.
“I am so grateful that [he] has given Healthy Children permission to use his amazing image of the Milky Way,” Turner-Maffei says.
One cannot view Sasse’s work without conjuring awe, wonder and appreciation.
Blatchford points out that his Milky Way image is a great example of what is known in design as the rule of the golden ratio.
“There is a real energy in the image, and perfection; it is a perfect universal creation, almost sacred,” Blatchford reflects. “For me, it also mimics a nautilus shell which symbolizes growth and renewal which I feel perfectly summarizes breastfeeding.”
She goes on, “I must admit, I am in awe when I view the image, not only because of the image itself, but also because Christian Sasse was able to capture this perfection.”
Turner-Maffei meditates on the image: “To me, [it] is a powerful reminder of the majesty, enormity, and mystery of the universe. Viewing it helps me to reframe daily human successes, tragedies, and challenges as a very small part of a vast, unending story.”