Get Ready for Milky Way Season with These Galactic Night-Sky Photos

The Milky Way sparkles over the village of Campinho, Portugal, in this panoramic view by astrophotographer Sérgio Conceição. He took this photo on June 12, 2018 at 11:57 p.m. local time.  (Image credit: Sérgio Conceição)

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. 

Related: Stunning Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy (Gallery)

The Milky Way glistens over Portugal in this image by astrophotographer Sérgio Conceição. He took the photo during peak Milky Way viewing season on June 12, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. local time.  (Image credit: Sérgio Conceição)

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. 

Astrophotographer Sérgio Conceição captured this photo of what he calls "a bridge to the Milky Way" from the village of Campinho, Portugal, on June 12, 2018, at 11:52 p.m. local time. (Image credit: Sérgio Conceição)

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 for a story or gallery, send images and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.