Chasing The Milky Way

For the last five seasons I've been chasing the Milky Way. When I started I didn't know that it had seasons. I assumed it was always there and was visible all the time. It was just covered up by light pollution from the city. What I learned is that I was partly right. The Milky Way Galaxy is around us. However, the galactic core of our home galaxy is only visible in certain times of the year. The Milky Way season, in my part of the hemisphere runs from mid March to early November. Despite what you might think, I'm not an astronomer.


So my chase for the Milky Way in 2019 is just starting as I write this. The Galactic Core has began to rise over the horizon enough that it was time to plan to go out. I started my day around 1:30 AM. After doing the needful, I consulted the weather oracle. It deemed me worthy so I got myself ready. I then drove for about an hour to reach the spot I picked out last week. I stayed out there until 7 AM. On the way home I had to pull over in a parking lot for a nap. The nap ran for about 2 hours. Got home around 10:30 AM. I then began the process of "editing" out the light pollution. Here are the results.


This morning was really amazing and I was treated to a view of three planets - Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. Venus is the brightest dot along the horizon in the pictures. Jupiter is the next brightest dot near the top of the galactic core. Saturn is the dimer dot near "the center" below Jupiter to the left.Thar other bright dot in the right corner I believe is the star Antares. Remember - Not an Astronomer.


The yellow you see is the light polluton from the surrounding area.

Arrived about 3:00 AM and starting setting up. I had scooped this area during the day, but setting up at night is still challenging. I picked this spot because I thought the water would be a nice touch to the foreground. In some of the shots you can see Venus reflected in the water. Also, I didn't have to do any light painting as the light pollution was more than enough to fill in. The yellow across the horizon is light pollution.


This an image is made of three images of the horizon stiched together.

Light pollution is very pervasive in the state of Florida. Only a few rarely true dark spots. Most are on or near the water. When shooting the Milky Way inland, you have to "edit out" the light pollution later in post. That way you can pull the detail from the image captured in the camera.


That cloud hung about during most of my time out there. You need a lot of patience for this craft.

My thought was to use the water's shore to mimic the Milky Way in the sky. I think I needed to be a little higher above the ground for it to be more effective.


It was about 45° F and for a Flroida boy that's cold. So I had to jump in the car to warm up a bit.

A little trick is to leave the car's rear lights on and use it to "paint" the foreground. It adds an other worldly quality to the composition. The sun was going to be up shortly. However that's not what's in the foto. That's a light dome from Myakka City.


One of the last shots before the core began to fade with oncoming sun.

And quickly it fades away as Astronomical Twilight turns into Nautical Twilight.


The yellow you see is a mix of sunlight and light polltion.

Good Day Sunshine! The night has ended and it's time for bed.


I've been chasing the Milky Way for five years now. It still hasn't gotten old.

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© donovan evans aka foto dono - all images and text