Beautiful Astrophoto: The Moon and the Milky Way Arch

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.


An annotated version of a 21-image mosaic showing the Milky Way and the setting Moon at dawn, at the Convent of Orada in Monsaraz, Portugal, in the Alqueva´s Dark Sky Reserve. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.
An annotated version of a 21-image mosaic showing the Milky Way and the setting Moon at dawn, at the Convent of Orada in Monsaraz, Portugal, in the Alqueva´s Dark Sky Reserve. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.

Incredible Astrophoto Mosaic: Via Láctea in Alentejo

This astounding mosaic of the Milky Way is comprised of 104 separate images and was taken in Elvas, Alentejo, Portugal by astrophotographer Miguel Claro. Visible is the arm of our galaxy the Milky Way, as well as many constellations like Cygnus, Cassiopeia, Sagittarius, and Scorpius. Look closely and find deep sky objects like Andromeda Galaxy. The image was taken in a portion of the Great Lake Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve in Portugal, a site designated as a “Starlight Tourism Destination.” The region has good atmospheric conditions for stargazing for more than 250 nights of the year, and special lodging is available just for astro-tourists.

This mosaic was taken on July 24, 2012, with a Canon 50D, 15 seg. a f/2.8, ISO 2000, Dist. Focal: 35 mm

See more of Miguel’s dark sky images at his website.

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Timelapse: Star Trails in Portugal

Astrophotographer Miguel Claro has compiled dozens of hours of timelapse photography – all taken in Portugal – creating one of the most amazing and idyllic night sky views, including several magical star trail observations. Included in the foreground are some historical features, such as Diana’s Temple in Évora, the 25th of April Bridge in Lisbon and scenes from the Dark Sky Alqueva, one of the first dark sky reserves in the world to be certified as “Star Light Tourism Destination.”

“It is the perfect place to find the Milky Way as well providing an incredible and overwhelming vision,” Claro wrote to UT, “where the depth of the sky has no limit. The light pollution effect existing in large cities, earned their magic through the peculiar form as it was captured in each image revealed in this video.”

Sit back, put the video in HD and large screen, turn on your speakers and enjoy! This is perfect if you need a short “get away from it all” during your day!
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