The Milky Way stretches across the early-morning sky in these glistening views captured by astrophotographer Sérgio Conceição in Campinho, Portugal.
After hiding behind the sun during the winter months, the Milky Way made its grand return to the morning sky in February. It is visible just before dawn from places with dark, clear skies. In the coming months, it will begin to rise higher in the sky, becoming visible earlier every morning until midsummer, when peak Milky Way viewing season arrives.
Conceição captured these stunning photos of the Milky Way when it was at its best last summer. He took the photos from the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Portugal — an "astrotourism" destination with very little light pollution — on the evening of June 12, 2018.
During the summer months, the Milky Way can be seen rising after nightfall. Conceição photographed the Milky Way just a few minutes before midnight, when the Milky Way was highest in the sky. (For comparison, here's another view of the Milky Way captured from the same location on April 18 at 3:40 a.m. local time.)
Along with the full arc and dusty core of the Milky Way, Conceição's photos are rich with planets, constellations and bright stars. Antares, a red supergiant star that is one of the brightest in the night sky, appears as an orange speck near the right edge of the galactic arc.
The biggest and brightest object in these photos, located to the right of the Milky Way, is the giant gas Jupiter. Embedded on the inner edge of the arc nearby is Saturn, located in the constellation Sagittarius. And at the top of the arc is the Summer Triangle, an asterism (or star pattern) that consists of the stars Deneb, Vega and Altair.
To capture these gorgeous views of our galaxy in the night sky, Conceição used a Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera with a 14mm lens. He captured a 10-second exposure for each image with the ISO set to 6400.
Editor's note: If you captured an amazing Milky Way photo and would like to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, send images and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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