The Milky Way moves across the night sky in this stunning composite image recently sent to SPACE.com.
Astrophotographer Mike Taylor combined 65 frames from a static time lapse of our host galaxy to create this beautiful image. He stacked the frames of the sequence to make a standard star trails image and then blended/masked in a single frame of the Milky Way.
Taylor took the image from Pemaquid, Maine on June 16 at 11:32 p.m. to 12:10 a.m. local time using a Nikon D7000 camera and Tokina 11-16 @ 11mm f/2.8 – 65 x 25 sec - ISO 2000. The photo was processed through Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS5. [Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy (Gallery )]
“Shooting straight into the light at a lighthouse tower is always difficult, but I like the final result here,” Taylor wrote SPACE.com in an email. “This is also a selfie because I jumped into the last frame and pointed towards the sky. Very rarely do I photograph myself, but I thought this gave a great sense of scale to the final image."
Appearing as a dazzling band of light in the night sky, the Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy comprising roughly 400 billion stars and stretching between 100,000 and 120,000 light-years in diameter. A massive black hole — billions of times the size of the sun—lies at the center of the galaxy.
To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by SPACE.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.
Editor's Note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.