Otherworldly photos of our Milky Way that will quite simply take your breath away

The Milky Way, the galaxy that contains our Solar System, contains up to 400 billion stars and at least that number of planets too.

If the last few months of quarantine have made you forget just how beautiful the world really can be, these stunning photos might be the perfect remedy.

In what can only be described as otherworldly, snapshots from the Milky Way capture the magic of the galaxy in images that appear to be more fairy-tale than fact.

The Milky Way, the galaxy that contains our Solar System, is believed to contain 100–400 billion stars and at least that number of planets too.

Its quirky name which describes the galaxy’s appearance from Earth – where a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars cannot be distinguished by the naked eye – derives from Latin and Greek to translate as ‘milky circle’.

These new pictures, entered into a photography competition, are as pleasing to the eye as they are extraordinary as we can look into its starry mass 100,000 light years away.

The photos were posted by travel photography blog Capture The Atlas, in a series entitled 25 Most Inspiring Milky Way Pictures.

They explained: “To help you find inspiration for planning and executing your Milky Way shots, we’ve gathered the best Milky Way images taken around the world.

“Buckle up, because this trip is going to take you from the far American Wild West to the unfamiliar landscapes of Antarctica, passing by spectacular deserts, glaciers, mountains, beaches… always with the Milky Way shining in the sky.”

Photographer Dan Zafra told Forbes that it’s actually possible for non-professionals to capture the Milky Way too – although timing and camera quality are crucial.

He said: “It’s important to choose one of the best days of the season to photograph the Milky Way.

“For this, you can use a Milky Way calendar according to your location and look for a dark place away from light pollution.

“I recommend focusing before dusk since focusing at night is more challenging.

“If there’s no other option, you can use the live view mode on your camera and zoom in on a bright star adjusting your focus ring manually until you can see the star sharp.”

To be in with your best chance, the calendar runs from spring to autumn each year whereby our galaxy will become more visible at night.

Meanwhile, photographer Dr. Nicholas Roemmelt said: “It requires great planning, and there are always a few technical things to consider. However, seeing the galaxy captured on the screen of your camera is an excitement that is difficult to describe.

“Any great Milky Way photograph always goes beyond technical steps; there is a moment, a story, and a seed that has been growing in the photographer’s mind for some time until all the elements align to create the image.”

Looking at these breathtaking images, we might have to invest in a new digital camera.

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