Milky Way Rising Over Monument Valley
July 30, 2011
The photo above shows the Milky Way rising over Monument Valley, Utah. The galactic center is the bright mass of stars slightly below and to the right of the image's center. Near the center is the constellation Sagittarius -- the constellation of Scorpio is at the left edge of large rock outcrop at right. Antares, the brightest star in Scorpio, is above and to the left of the outcrop. Although the night sky is very dark above Monument Valley, time exposed photographs reveal the glow of distant population areas. The brightest area appears to be Gallup, New Mexico (bottom center, about 100 mi or 160 km distant), with the lights of Farmington, New Mexico at bottom left. Also visible are the headlights of a car returning from the valley floor -- diagonal streak at bottom center. This image was taken on June 4, 2011 from a room balcony in The View Hotel. The hotel is a Navajo owned business located within the Navajo Nation and the Navajo Tribal Park at Monument Valley.
Photo details: Nikon D40X camera; ISO 1600; Focal length 18 mm; f/3.5; 2 images of 60 seconds exposure stacked and aligned with CCDStack astronomical imaging software. The camera was mounted on a barn door tracker. PhotoShop CS3 was used for non-linear stretching and color balance.