Astrophoto: Sky of Milk in a Lake of Fire

A gorgeous new 21-image mosaic from our of our “regulars,” Miguel Claro. Miguel explains the view:

Azores is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal, composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. One of the islands is São Miguel, where we can find a beautiful lake in the crater center, called Lake of Fire, “Lagoa do Fogo”. Above it, the sky reveals the magnificent arc of our galaxy, the Milky Way, besides the light pollution coming from Vila Franca do Campo, a small town at the southern shore of the island, that illuminates the clouds near the horizon with the an orange tone. From left to right, we can see the swan (Cygnus) constellation, with its North America nebula (NGC7000) clearly visible below the Deneb star, down to the right, we can find Aquila. Sagittarius is covered by the cloud. Near the right limit, we find Scorpius and it´s super giant star, Antares, following to the right edge of the picture, it is visible the planet Saturn, in Libra.

His equipment and specs: Canon 60Da – ISO2500; 24mm at f/2; Exp. 20 secs. in 04/05/2014 at 3:45 AM.

There is also an annotated version available here.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

Stunning Astrophoto: Moon in the Lighthouse

The March full Moon, sometimes called the “Worm Moon” for signaling the coming of spring in the northern hemisphere. This artistically stunning image taken by astrophotopher Miguel Claro is a sequence of 93 images taken at 2-minute intervals as the Moon traveled across the sky and past the Cape Espichel lighthouse near Sesimbra, Portugal. Miguel tells us that the lighthouse originally opened in 1790, and by 1865 it was powered by olive oil, changing to regular fuel in 1886, and much later by electricity by about 1926. The lighthouse measures 32 meters high and lies at an altitude of 168m above the see level. Presently, its luminous range is 20 nautical miles, about 38 km out to sea on a clear night.

Miguel used a Canon 60D – 35mm at f/4 ISO500; 1/5 sec. The sequence was taken on March 16, 2014 between 19:16 and 20:42.

Here’s a closeup:

The Cabo Espichel lighthouse near, Sesimbra, Portugal and the full Moon on March 16, 2014. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.
The Cabo Espichel lighthouse near, Sesimbra, Portugal and the full Moon on March 16, 2014. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.

See more of Miguel’s work at his website.

You can check out other recent full Moon photos and more taken by our readers at our Flickr page.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

Astrophoto: The Macro Moon

This very creative self-portrait by astrophotographer Miguel Claro shows what appears to be the photographer taking a ‘macro’ closeup of the crescent Moon! But there is a lot more going on in this image. The crescent Moon has just 3% of the disc illuminated by the Sun, but there is a stunningly bright Earthshine effect visible. This image was taken on May 11, 2013, so there is a conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter (the brightest star in the image). Venus was also in conjunction, but at the time this image was taken, it was covered by the cloudy band low on the horizon.

Another shot below:

A silhouette of photographer Miguel Claro along with the crescent Moon and Jupiter. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.
A silhouette of photographer Miguel Claro along with the crescent Moon and Jupiter. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.

Images taken from Capuchos, Almada, Portugal with a Canon 50D – ISO400; Exp. 2sec. F/4; 35mm, on May 11, 2013 at 21:41 and 21:43. Enjoy more of Claro’s images at his website.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

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.

Beautiful Astrophoto: Zoom Into Orion

Here’s an awesome sequence of images from skyscape photographer Miguel Claro. These images were captured from Cape Espichel, Sesimbra, Portugal, about 40 km away from Lisbon. This triple sequence poster contains a beautiful widefield view of the well-known winter constellations visible from the northern hemisphere; then a zoom in to focus on Orion; then Claro zooms in even more to find the Great Orion Nebula M42 and M43.

Claro took a single shot for each image with a DSLR camera, using between 10, 35 and 300 mm. “To do this work I´ve used the incredible Vixen Polarie mounting travel, to avoid the Earth rotation, and a Canon 60Da, a camera sensitive to the infrared/H-alpha wavelengths,” Claro said.

Below is an annotated version of the different objects in the image:

An annotated poster with a progression of images from Cape Espichel, Sesimbra in Portugal. Left is a wide field starscape, center is Orion's deep sky objects and right is a closeup of M42. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.
An annotated poster with a progression of images from Cape Espichel, Sesimbra in Portugal. Left is a wide field starscape, center is Orion’s deep sky objects and right is a closeup of M42. Credit and copyright: Miguel Claro.

You can see these images and more at Claro’s website, http://miguelclaro.com/

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.

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!
Continue reading “Timelapse: Star Trails in Portugal”