Winter Milky Way, McCall, Idaho

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I headed out early this morning for a nighttime photo shoot. The skis were crystal clear and as a result the temperature was about -8F. I was looking to shoot stars and the Milky Way with my new astrologically friendly lens.

The new lens worked very well but unfortunately, this is not the prime “Milky Way Season” You can make out the Milky Way right above the horizon but during the winter season, our nighttime skies are pointed away from the galactic core. This means we are looking outward and since our sun and planet are located much closer to the edge of our galaxy than towards our center, there are far fewer stars to create the hazy effect.

You might also notice that within the strip of milky skies are patchy bare spots. This effect is caused by interstellar gas and dust which blocks star light from the dense star clusters behind. It is especially noticeable when viewing the galactic core. You will need to stay tuned to this summer’s blogs to see those as the prime galactic core season is in June and July.

You can also see this effect of dust and gas in this image below from last June although the lens I used here was far less capable than my new one.

Here are another couple neighborhood shots from this morning, notice the star density is much lower as the lens is pointed directly perpendicular to the plane of the galaxy. Also of note here is that it was nearly pitch dark. The long 20 to 30 second exposures allowed me to bring out the very low ambient lighting.

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