The Milky Way-In All Its Glory

When starting digital imaging in 2010, I admired all the images showing  the milky way in all its glory, not knowing a single thing about how they were taken or even how they have been accomplished/processed. I knew back then, that there is a software out there for stacking multiple images, but that has been all Greek to me. While being in Australia in Aug. 2013, I took heaps of images of the milky way, which is in its own full glory at that time of the year, using a modified Canon 1100 D camera and a Vixen Polarie  star trekking device. Being back home, I had the images, but I still couldn´t figure it out how to process them and using a Mac/iOS made it more difficult to find a proper/for free stacking software. A friend of mine introduced me into PixInsight software, which is a fantastic tool, but it got a very steep learning curve. After years of try and error, being unsatisfied with the outcome, I neglected the project of stacking the images and putting together a multiple mosaic panel of the milky way. Again with the aid of my friend Bernd, who introduced me into processing the images via PixInsight, and a lots of free time during the winter months, I finally have been able to figure things out  I started almost six years ago. The downside of this? The longing for the stars increases more and more every time I look at the final image. To view the image in all its glory – click on it, best seen on a 27″ screen. Enjoy!

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Six-panel mosaic, stacked with PixInsight and stitched together with Lightroom, no adjustments applied…focal length: 70mm…

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Six panel mosaic of the center of the milky way, each panel is a stacked image of multiple photographs. The final image contains 181 single frames, with a total of 74.6 min. exposure time. Stacked with PixInsight, some enhancement in ColorEfex and global adjustments with Lightroom. My all-time favorite is the so-called Cat Paws Nebula (NGC 6334), but there is so much more in it: NGC 6357, M6, M7,M8, M20, the Galactic Center, the “Kiwi” to the lower right and some sort of “skull” right in the center…

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