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A Cosmic Perspective: Pretty Panoramic Milky Way Photo Resembles an Astronaut's-Eye View

A large panoramic image composed of nine frames shows the long stretch of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from the Northern Hemisphere in Portugal's Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve. (Image credit: Miguel Claro)

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 him here as he takes us through his photograph "My Helmet's Vision of the Milky Way."

A colorful panorama that looks like the view from inside an astronaut's helmet shows the breadth of the Milky Way galaxy as it stretches across the night sky from one horizon to the other. 

Three prominent celestial objects form a large triangle in this view of the night sky, but this isn't the well-known "Summer Triangle," a large star pattern defined by the stars Deneb, Altair and Vega. Rather, this image features an unnamed triangle formed by the planet Mars, the Andromeda galaxy and Vega, the brightest star in the Summer Triangle and the fifth-brightest star in the night sky.

In this view, Mars is the bright-orange object in the upper left corner of the sky. The Andromeda galaxy appears as a faint oblong object in upper right corner. The bright, bluish-white star Vega is close to the center of the image, just beneath the Milky Way's dusty core.

Related: Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy

The reddish hues spread around the Milky Way are emission nebulas, or "stellar nurseries," where clouds of dust and gas coalesce to form new stars. One of these regions is the North America Nebula (NGC 7000), which is easy to spot in the center of this lovely scene. This pink-and-red emission nebula gets its name from its shape, which bears some resemblance to the North American continent. 

I captured this photo of the Milky Way from Campinho, a small village in the heart of Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Portugal. To create the image, I used a Nikon D810a DSLR camera set to capture a 25-second exposure for nine frames, with the ISO set to 4000, and with a 14-24mm lens, set to 20-millimeter at f/2.8.

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To see more of Claro's amazing astrophotography, visit his website: Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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