Miguel Claro (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) and member of The World At Night (opens in new tab) and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve (opens in new tab), he specializes in astronomical "Skyscapes" that connect both Earth and night sky. Join Miguel here as he takes us through his photograph, "The Starry Dusty Field from the Core of Our Milky Way Galaxy."
While astrophotographers typically use long exposures to capture detailed views of stars, galaxies and nebulas, this panorama of the Milky Way galaxy (opens in new tab) shows how a little exposure can go a long way.
The panorama, which was featured as NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (opens in new tab), is composed of only nine 60-second shots that I captured with a 105mm lens at f/1.8 during my recent trip to Atacama Desert in Chile. It reveals a wide, deep-sky field from the core region of our galaxy.
Related: Our Milky Way galaxy's core revealed (photos) (opens in new tab)
Against the star-filled background, we can easily recognize many well known deep-sky objects, including several emission nebulas — glowing clouds of interstellar dust and gas — like the Eagle Nebula (opens in new tab) (also known as Messier 16, or M16), the Omega Nebula (opens in new tab) (M17), the Lagoon Nebula (opens in new tab) (M8) and NGC 6357 (opens in new tab).
The colorful panorama also features some reflection nebulas, or nebulas that emit no light of their own and glow by reflecting light from local stars, and dark nebulas (opens in new tab)that block light from passing through. All three types of nebulas — emission, reflection and dark nebulas — can be seen together here in the Trifid Nebula (opens in new tab)(M20).
The image also shows many star clusters, like Messier 23. The blue star pair glowing brightly on the right side of the image is Shaula (opens in new tab) and Lesath, while are located on the tail of the constellation Scorpius, the scorpion. Above it are two red emission nebulas, NGC 6357 and the Cat's Paw (opens in new tab) (NGC 6334). In the top right corner, we can see another "pink" object known as the Prawn Nebula (opens in new tab), or IC 4628.
The Milky Way's galactic core and all of the objects shown in this image are visible in the night sky this time of year; skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere can see it after midnight and before dawn, while those in the Southern Hemisphere can see it all night long.
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