My first successful shot of the Milky Way, just an hour and a half west of Tucson at the base of Kitt Peak. After about three hours and about three hundred source images, this appears to be the only one that came out – a composition of thirty-two twelve-second exposures on ISO6400 at f/4.5.

My last attempt in Dublin gave me high expectations, but I was using my “nifty fifty” which opens up all the way to f/1.8 and really screams for a little lens. It’s hard to beat the wide-angle view though that my 10-18mm provides.

Desert astrophotography is great: 80º in the middle of the night, 48% relative humidity, and an amazing sky. It was easy to see the Milky Way with unaided eyesight, but it was nothing more than a cloudy white streak across the horizon above. The ground illumination came purely from our own galaxy while the New Moon hid on the other side of the Earth.

6.5 minutes of exposure to the Milky Way as it climbs over the horizon.
6.5 minutes of exposure to the Milky Way as it climbs over the horizon.

5 thoughts on “Milchstraße

  1. Reblogged this on Snell Family Adventures and commented:

    The first shot is Dublin was enough to get me excited, but take away that moist ocean air and replace it with a dry desert sky and things really start to shape up. Here’s my second attempt at capturing the Milky Way and the first one I consider successful. May many more follow with even more breathtaking views into our amazing home in the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one worked well with the script I’ve been developing, but I have some new ideas to get me closer to a local point-spread-function-based deconvolution to remove the coma aberrations and other blurs.

      Essentially I’m just passing the images into the `align_image_stack` from the Hugin suite two at a time: one frame is the “anchor” frame (the middle picture in the sequence) and the other is the currently-processing image. Then, after they are aligned I add them together.

      Recompiling `ImageMagick` to use a 32-bit quantum and to support 32-bit TIFF images has been huge here because now I can just add all the images together then use Photoshop’s tone-mapping to scale the colors down into a 16-bit depth. This 16-bit image looks great and LightRoom rocks at the final touches.

      Liked by 2 people

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