The Milky Way galaxy reigns over Maine as a photographer looks on this spectacular view captured by a veteran observer of the night sky.
Astrophotographer Mike Taylor sent SPACE.com this stunning image showing the bright band of the Milky Way galaxy over Maine's rugged Bold Coast. The photo captures the brilliance of our home galaxy as Taylor's friend and colleague Garrett Evans sets up his own photo shoot.
"I really like this silhouette of the photographer with all his gear — in the field practicing his craft," Taylor wrote SPACE.com in an email. [Best Photos of Our Milky Way Galaxy (Gallery)]
It was a serendipitous meeting under the Milky Way for the two photographers. Taylor was hiking from one pre-planned photo-shooting spot to another when he stumbled upon Evans, of A G Evans Photography, setting up from a vantage point the latter photographer had picked out earlier in the day.
"One of the most rewarding facets to night photography is knowing that you can grab a pretty cool shot on the fly, with no planning at all, if you keep your eyes and your mind open — this is one of those shots," Taylor wrote.
Taylor captured this image on Sept. 6 using a Nikon D600 camera and 14-24 mm at 14, f/2.8, 30 seconds, ISO 3200. The photo was processed through Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS5. Taylor desaturated some to the green and orange hues present in the photo, which were caused by airglow in the night sky.
"Daylight planning and recon work are essential to night shooters so that they can compose their foregrounds for specific images," Taylor said. "If you know where the Milky Way and other features of the night sky will be when the sun goes down, you can pick out certain foreground aspects that will add to your final image before you start clicking the shutter at night."
The Milky Way galaxy is a barred spiral galaxy stretching between 100,000 to 120,000 light-years in diameter. The galaxy appears from Earth like a brilliant band of light in the night sky—comprising approximately 400 billion stars, along with gas and dust.
To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by SPACE.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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