After a long time, I visited Cherry Spring State Park, a truly dark sky in north central Pennsylvania. My main purpose was to observe deep sky objects using my telescope, but, I decided to take a few images of the Milky Way’s central band, which appears in southern sky during summer months (in northern hemisphere).
Most of us city dwellers never see Milky Way, but, if you go to a truly dark sky on a clear night, you will be astounded by the sheer grandeur of this almost white cloud that covers most of the southern part of the sky during the summer months. This cloud is made of gas, dust and stars.
Most bright stars in our Milky Way Galaxy reside in a disk. Since our Sun also resides in this disk, these stars appear to us as a diffuse band that circles the sky. The bulge is the reason that we can only see a small percentage of the total stars in the galaxy. Dust and gas within it are so thick that we can’t even peer into the center of the Milky Way, much less see out the other side.
The actual colors of the Milky Way’s core area are represented in this picture, and they are the true colors captured by the camera. However, our eyes see them as gray colors, simply because it is very dim and our eyes are not capable of deciphering the colors when it is truly dim.
This image contains an area of the sky from Aquila constellation on the top-left to Sagittarius constellation on bottom left and covers about 1/4th of the sky when you look toward South. I took this image with a regular DSLR camera on a simple tripod without any telescope and took 36 images of 10 seconds each at f/4 using just 24 mm focal length (so the exposure is just 6 minutes). The focus was not perfect so the image is not as good as it should be. I should have taken more images than I did, but I couldn’t because of some equipment issues.