Impressionist Milky Way

June 30, 2005


Provided by: Marc Sylvestre
Summary authors & editors: Marc Sylvestre

Chances are you've never seen our Milky Way like this -- nor could you. In a clear sky, from a dark location at the right time, a faint, milky band of light is visible across the sky. This band is the disk of our spiral galaxy. Since we're inside this disk, the band appears to encircle the Earth. The above spectacular picture is a bit of a digital trick, though. A first shot was taken in July 2000 with the camera counter-rotating from the Earth so that the stars appear fixed. This allowed a long exposure from which a great amount of detail could emerge from the background star field. Later, after moonrise, a much shorter image was taken from the same location catching details of Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe. Reflections in the water were later enhanced digitally.

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