Milky Way

While I was mostly working with my telescope and full-spectrum camera doing “proper” astronomy earlier in the week, I also left my other camera on a regular tripod pointing at the sky, trying to photography the Milky Way with a fisheye lens.

Milky Way
Milky Way

This picture covers pretty much the whole sky, almost horizon to horizon. The Milky Way is the pale band diagonally across the picture. It crosses both horizons and arches across the whole sky. If you’re in a dark place then you can see it with the naked eye, and it is one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see.

The dark site I usually use for astronomy is pretty dark but it’s less than 20 miles from Bristol as the crow flies and there is still light pollution around – especially low in the sky, near the horizon. You can clearly see the effect that light pollution has in this picture, which is pale and orange towards towards the corners – especially towards the bottom-left which is the direction of Bristol. No doubt I could find darker skies if I drove to Exmoor or Dartmoor, but I need a quickly-accessible dark site that is compatible with holding down a day job!

This picture is composed of 29 images, each of 30 seconds, for a total of 14 minutes and 30 seconds. That’s all I could manage before the camera battery ran flat in the cold! I used a Canon EOS 600D and a Samyang 8mm fisheye lens. I think it was set to f/5.6 to sharpen the stars a little.

The black blob near the top of the picture looks like a speck of dust on the lens, while the white blobs towards the right hand side of the picture are probably star clusters. I need to look up which ones.

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