Summer is in the air and the Milky Way is high in the night sky. Astrophotographers bring the wonders of the universe right to our eyes without us ever going outside. With light pollution creeping in on every part of the globe many never see the Milky Way any more and sadly some have never seen it. Photographers have been eager to share their recent shots of the glorious Backbone of Night, each one a sparkling stellar masterpiece. Sit back and enjoy these extaordinary shots of cosmic eye candy!
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) see the world at night on every orbit — that’s 16 times each crew day. An astronaut took this broad, short-lens photograph of Earth’s night lights while looking out over the remote reaches of the central equatorial Pacific Ocean. ISS was passing over the island nation of Kiribati at the time, about 2600 kilometers (1,600 miles) south of Hawaii.
It looks more like a scene from a sci-fi movie than an actual scene on Earth. Photographer James Garlick captured this mind blowing photo when he arrived at a beach in Tasmania, Australia on May 18th, 2015. What he saw took his breath away. He stood in awe at the enchanted glowing waves gliding under the billions of stars in the Milky Way. The bright blue waves were indeed a rare and exciting sight and highly sought after by any one who goes there.
Astrophotographers are constantly in search of the perfect setting and clear dark skies to capture a creative perspective of the universe. Many times they have to wait a long time to find the shot they have been dreaming of. Adam Woodworth's patience and persistence paid off when the elements came together one night for the stellar masterpiece he had been searching for. He tells how this incredible image came to be at the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine.
Astrophotographers live in a world unlike the rest of us. While we snooze the night away, they search for the darkest skies with luminance stars in enchanted landscapes. Their quest is finding otherworldly scenes where the magic of night melts into the ground and creates heaven on Earth. Adam Woodworth has captured some of the most breathtaking images of the night sky. His latest masterpiece, Raven's Nest, captured in Acadia National Park, Maine takes us to a place with soaring cliffs, extraordinary beauty and cosmic charm.
As technology progresses we lose the magic of the night. It's a sad reality that many people never look at the stars anymore because they can't see them. They have forgotten there is a night sky at all. We can change this and bring back the awe-inspiring twinkling night that we used to have. We can fight light pollution!
As we sit on our hunk of rock somewhere in the outskirts of the Milky Way, we have no way to see ourselves from the outside. The Triangulum Galaxy helps us to imagine what we could look like. It is the third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies, which includes the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy and about 30 other smaller galaxies. This galactic wonder is one of the most distant permanent objects that can be viewed with the naked eye.
Getting out at night and catching an eye full of the heavens can sometimes give us new awareness of the cosmos. Astrophotographer Brian Drourr took these stunning panoramas of the Milky Way. He says being under the stars has changed the way he sees the universe and our place in it.
"If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently. How so? Well, when you look into infinity, you realize that there are more important things than what people do all day." -Calvin and Hobbes
These aren't your average everyday selfies. Each photo is unique and creative because the photographer captured their own image against the ultimate backdrop, our Milky Way. When one spends so much time under the big open night sky, there is no escaping contemplating the deeper meaning of the universe. Whether we star gaze alone, with friends, or with the one we love, we can't help but feel small and humbled in the grandeur of the cosmos. We come to the understanding we are part of something so incredible and so much larger than ourselves. It was hard picking just one photo from each talented photographer. Please click the link under each name to see more captivating images of our night sky. Thank you to all the photographers who contributed images. The last image is an open invitation for anyone who would like to experience a front row seat to the most amazing show this planet has ever seen. We invite you to go out and enjoy the magic of the night as the Milky Way puts on an unforgettable cosmic show!
Today in our world of fast paced technology and growing population it's no wonder people forget to slow down and look up at the night sky. Even when we do look up we may just see a handful of stars and the moon. "Nothing to see here" we may think to ourselves as we get out of our cars at night and go about our business. Many people don't know what they are missing. How can you miss something you've never seen or thought twice about?