With the arrival of spring, the Milky Way begins its rise in the sky in the northern hemisphere. Now visible at dawn in the skies over Portugal at dawn, astrophotographer Miguel Claro captured this stunning 21-image mosaic showing the arch of the Milky Way framing the setting Moon from Monsaraz, Portugal in the Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve. In the foreground is the Convent of Orada (dated 1670).
“Near the center at the right of palm trees, the moon shines brightly, although not interfering with the giant arc of the Milky Way where it is possible to distinguish a lot of constellations like Ursa Minor, with the Polaris star to the left of the image,” Claro said via email, “until the swan (Cygnus), with its North America nebula (NGC7000) clearly visible, down to the right, we still find the constellation of Sagittarius and Scorpio, with the brilliant super giant star, Antares.”
Click the images to see larger versions (yes, you really want to ’embiggen!’)
See an annotated version below. Claro used a Canon 60Da – ISO1600 Lens 24mm f/2; Exp. 15 seconds, taken on 06/04/2013 at 5:32 AM local time.