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Milky Way | by snowpeak
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Milky Way

I got my contact lenses back, at least until cataract surgery on July 7, so, since I can see again, last night I drove up to Cuba, NM, and took some star shots.


It was the first clear night in a couple of weeks, and it came on a new moon, so all I had to do was find a place with minimum light pollution. I bought a new (cheap) lens, a Rokinon 14mm f/2.8, and this is the first time I've tried it out.


This image is a composite of three shots with the Rokinon, 30 sec at ISO 6400, f/2.8. I merged the images manually in Photoshop.


The bright light on the right (southern) horizon is Albuquerque, about 60 miles away from my remote location in a field west of Cuba. I took the images around 11:00 pm local time. The milky way was rising in the eastern sky.


I'm working on a motorized equatorial mount and, if it works, I should be able to get better shots by tracking the stars. I think the sky in southwest NM, in the Gila Wilderness area, is even darker than this location, so maybe next month I'll go down there.


The milky way, only a small part of which you see here, is our galaxy. It has maybe 10 billion stars. Until 100 years ago, it was believed that the entire universe was this single galaxy. We now know that there are at least 100 billion galaxies in the visible part of the universe. The possibility of multiple universes is an openly debated question in current cosmology.

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Taken on June 28, 2014