Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory photo ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical skyscapes that connect Earth and the night sky. Join Miguel here as he takes us through his photograph "A Spring Arch of Milky Way."
The starry arc of the Milky Way galaxy sprawls across the evening sky on a spring night in this photo captured near the village of Campinho in Portugal's Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve.
For skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere, the Milky Way makes its first appearance of the year in spring after hiding beneath the horizon during the winter months. This photo was taken on April 18, 2018 at 3:40 a.m. local time (0230 GMT), about 3 hours before sunrise. [How to See the Milky Way in the Summer Night Sky]
Visible high above the arc of the Milky Way is the bright-blue star Vega, which shines with an apparent magnitude of 0.0 (Vega is used as the standard reference star on the scale of stellar magnitude). Located in the Lyra constellation, Vega forms an asterism, or star pattern, well known as the Summer Triangle along with the stars Deneb (in the Cygnus constellation) and Altair (in the constellation Aquila).
Glowing red just below the right end of the Milky Way's arc is Mars, and Saturn is shining to its right, near the dusty core of the galaxy. Tracing the line formed by Mars and Saturn farther to the right, we can find the red supergiant star Antares in the Scorpius constellation followed by the bright planet Jupiter.
Above the horizon, yellow-green airglow mixes with the lights from the Portuguese village of Aldeia da Luz. Below, water from the Great Lake of Alqueva — the largest man-made lake in Europe — mirrors the starry night sky.
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