The Milky Way Over Loon Island: A Stargazer's Stunning View (Photo)

Nina Sen
Astrophotographer A. Garrett Evans took the image Loon Island Lighthouse on Lake Sunapee in Sunapee, New Hampshire on Feb. 28, 2015.

This stunning panoramic of the Milky Way shows our host galaxy arching over Lake Sunapee.

Astrophotographer A. Garrett Evans took the image Loon Island Lighthouse on Lake Sunapee in Sunapee, New Hampshire on Feb. 28, 2015.

"I have been planning this shot for about a year and a half," Evans told Space.com in an email. "Four things need to happen to get this shot. The Milky Way core needs to be above the horizon, the weather needs to be clear, the moon needs to be set or in a new moon phase, and the ice needs to be safe."

Our host galaxy, the Milky Way, is a barred spiral galaxy seen as a band of light in the night sky. It stretches between 100, 000 and 120,000 light-years in diameter. It is estimated that the galaxy has approximately 400 billion stars. At the center of our galaxy lies a gigantic black hole billions of times the size of the sun. [See More Stunning Photos of the Milky Way ]

Evans found the weather co-operative the night he took the image.

"The weather was clear, and the ice was safe and everything fell into place. I was lucky that the wind had blown the snow to cover any previous ski, snowshoe or snowmobile tracks on the lake near the lighthouse, and it also left a nice pattern to create some shadows in the foreground," he added.

Evans took a series of shots just as the sky started to change color into the blue after the sun dips below the horizon, with residual sunlight appearing a deep blue. He used a Nodal Ninja panning head with my Canon 6D, Canon 16-35mm lens (at 16mm) ISO 3200, f/2.8 25 seconds each to take 18 shots in portrait orientation.

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 spacephotos@space.com.

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