Astrophoto: Milky Way Over the Bungle Bungles by Mike Salway

by Nancy Atkinson on July 31, 2012

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Photographer Mike Salway recently took a trip to the western Australia Kimberly Region of the Outback, and has posted some amazing night sky images of his adventures. This picture — and the name of the geologic features — especially caught my eye. The Bungle Bungles of Purnululu National Park are an incredible sight in themselves, huge beehive-shaped sandstone formations. But Mike was able to take a panoramic view of the Milky Way arching over the formations, a symmetrical halo of light in the full sky.

“You know the skies are dark when you can see the Milky Way overhead, even when there’s a more than half-moon shining brightly high in the west sky,” Mike wrote on his website. “And that’s what it was like at the Bungle Bungles.”

This image is an 8 frame panorama, taken on the Piccaninny Creek bed with his Canon 5D Mk II and Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens.

See more images from Mike’s trip, and all his other work, too, plus check out his IceInSpace website, a collection of amateur astronomer images of the Solar System.

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About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

William Sparrow July 31, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Beautiful image. Thanks Mike!

Peter Croft August 1, 2012 at 6:56 AM

Oh, what a great shot! I love it. I’m in Perth and these are “just up the road” from me! Er, about 2,500Km up the road. I’ve never been there but they are amazing. And they all used to be under the ocean, as I understand it, laid down as layers of silt.

Vedran Vrhovac August 1, 2012 at 8:52 AM

I would like to move to Australia just to have access to the beautiful dark sky. Here in Europe it is to crowded to avoid light pollution and weather is not cooperating :)

Old Gregg August 1, 2012 at 5:21 AM

yeah.. only problem is that you would have to live outside of the main cities.. while our LP is probably a shade or two ‘better’ than europe, if you live in one of the capital cities (which is where the majority of jobs are) forget it.. you would have to move/drive for hours to the middle of nowhere to get dark sky. On the plus side, winters aren’t as cold though :) Last year i was in the NT, near Uluru (relatively speaking, our distances are VAST) but unfortunately the moon was up for the few days i was there!

SJStar August 1, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Please. I would not bother. They announced today that the Australian Government intends to support a “US bid for multibillion-dollar nuclear aircraft carrier strike group in Perth.”. It apparently comes from a report that will be tabled today (1st August) by the US Government’s “Congress’s Armed Services Committee.”

Already knowing your likely European sensibilities, you instead might like to go to New Zealand or even South Africa instead! As stated in the first comments with linked article; “There goes the neighborhood!!!” (There are something even the clearest of skies are not worth sacrificing for.) Shame.

Aerandir90 August 1, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Congratulations. Only you can twist a simple comment on astronomy and dark skies into something political and anti-American.

SJStar August 2, 2012 at 7:07 AM

It is anti-Australian, actually.

William Sparrow August 2, 2012 at 10:50 PM

What Utopian part of Earth are you a resident of? It must be uniquely perfect, as you’ve now insulted all Americans and Australians.

SJStar August 1, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Sorry. I really don’t like the way the false illusions that this guy is continuing to generate and spin. I.e. He really speaks for much fewer people than he claims on his Ice site. IMO, UT perhaps be far more careful and selective in what organisations they promote, and instead, just concentrate or promote the astrophoto or image in question.

Also it would have been nice to be presented with more basic details, like the time and date of the image was taken, the exposure lengths and even a little bit of info about the processing or enhancements.

I do, however, if I’m being honest and truthful, have to agree this image is a really an excellent artistic piece. If any simple flaw were to be pointed out, is that the stars are greatly distorted, and it might have been better to do just a basic ‘perspective transformation.’ (Exampled as the attached image.) Here the Pointers and the Cross are in a much more realistic configuration. Comment also, that it would had been an excellent new panorama for the freeware planetarium software like Stellarium.

SJStar August 1, 2012 at 6:56 AM

Oh. According to this LINK ;
“Each frame was a 30s exposure, f/2.8 ISO3200. Panorama created using Auto Pano Pro, and the image was processed in Photoshop CS5.”

Also, reading the comment, all the ‘fanboys” loved it too.

SJStar August 3, 2012 at 6:19 AM

Australia. Our entire elected government, both/all major parties, is just as equally stupid as the entire American government.

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