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Milky Way's seasonal transition captured in gorgeous night sky photo

A night scene captured at the end of summer season from the Dark Sky Alqueva reserve in Portugal shows a galactic arc above a dead tree, featuring both parts of the summer and winter Milky Way.
A night scene captured at the end of summer season from the Dark Sky Alqueva reserve in Portugal shows a galactic arc above a dead tree, featuring both parts of the summer and winter Milky Way.
(Image: © Miguel Claro)

Byline: Miguel Claro, Space.com Contributor

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 Claro here as he takes us through his photograph "A Galactic Arch is Featuring the Summer and Winter Parts of the Milky Way above a Dead Tree."

A starry night scene captured at the end of summer from the Dark Sky Alqueva reserve in Portugal shows the Milky Way's galactic arc shimmering above a dead tree in Noudar Park. 

The mosaic image features two sides of the Milky Way that are not usually visible at the same time. On the left side of the photo is the "summer Milky Way," which gradually disappears in the western horizon when the summer season comes to an end. In the opposite direction of the arc, in the eastern sky, the "winter Milky Way" is starting to appear with the winter constellations of Auriga, the charioteer, and Taurus, the bull, shining bright. 

Related: Stunning photos of our Milky Way galaxy (Gallery)

Meanwhile, the stars that form the asterism known as the Summer Triangle are getting low on the horizon in the left side of the sky. The blueish star cluster known as the Pleiades is gradually getting higher, as seen on the right side of the image, announcing the approach of the winter season.

This mosaic comprise 22 single images captured with a Nikon D810a camera, with the ISO set to 2500 and a Sigma Art 20mm lens at f/1.6. The exposure time was 20 seconds.

To get a print of Claro's amazing astrophotography, visit his fine-art prints store at www.miguelclaro.com/prints. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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  • rod
    Admin said:
    A starry night scene captured at the end of summer from the Dark Sky Alqueva reserve in Portugal shows the Milky Way's galactic arc shimmering above a dead tree in Noudar Park.

    Milky Way's seasonal transition captured in gorgeous night sky photo : Read more

    Excellent dark sky and video too. I was out last night under the stars using my 10-inch Newtonian telescope on my horse pasture, a small farming area with no lights around. Clear skies and temperatures -5C. Lovely views of Orion, Canis Major, Puppis, Lepus, etc. M79 globular cluster, NGC 2362 star cluster with Tau Canis Majoris, M93, M50, etc. I can still see M41 and M35 in Gemini with unaided eyes so limiting magnitude stars about +5.5 or so. However, nothing like this video and dark sky sight. The heavens declare the glory of God as David said in the Psalms (19). I really enjoy being able to view from a more rural area with little or no lights around, just large fields and woods. When I came back in 3 hours later, the wood burning stove sure felt good :)
    Reply