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 and member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical "Skyscapes" that connect both Earth and night sky. Join Miguel here as he takes us through his photograph "Discovering the Sky Above with a Mobile Planetarium."
While we don't yet have smartphone cameras that are capable of facing the challenges of night photography, we can use them as a powerful mobile planetarium.
Fortunately, nowadays, there are several apps on the market for free or for sale that can help you every time you are under a starry dark sky, turning your smartphone into an easy-to-use tool that helps you identify celestial objects in the sky in real time.
This image, captured at Praia Fluvial Azenhas do Guadiana, a beach in the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Mértola, Portugal, shows a moment when a sky enthusiast was searching for the planet Saturn, which is shining bright near the core of the galaxy and only 6 degrees from the Lagoon Nebula (visible above the mountain, in the center of the image).
To capture the image, I used a Nikon D810A DSLR camera set to capture 25-second exposures with the ISO set to 2500 and a 17-millimeter telephoto lens.
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