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The Milky Way over the Coral Sea | by Wayne Pinkston
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The Milky Way over the Coral Sea

This image was taken along the NE coast of Australia, between Cairs and Port Douglas, along the area known as the Coral Sea. This is the area of the Great Barrier Reef. We had planned a vacation with some friends, and the conditions did not to look favorable for any night photography, so I almost did not take my tripod. I happened to notice that this area was remarkably dark on the Dark Sky Finder App, and there would be a few hours of darkness after Moonset in the early a.m. on 2 nights we were there, so I took the tripod along and I was glad I did. After the moon set the Milky Way and stars were as beautiful as I had ever seen them, with the structure of the Milky Way and gas clouds clearly visible to the naked eye. It was a great experience to be there just to see the sky. The light pollution in the distance is a resort and the town of Cairns. The small lights on the horizon are boats or ships and a lighthouse.



This is a panorama of approximately 210 degrees. This is a combination of 15 vertical images, taken with a Canon 6D camera, and a Canon 16-35 mm lens, at f 2.8, 16 mm, 20 sec exposures, and ISO 12,800. The Milky Way arches high overhead in the Southern Hemisphere, so you need a lot of vertical coverage to include it all, especially later in the night. The moon had recently set so the was a little ambient light still remaining when I took this series.


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Taken on April 27, 2015