Today's Image

See the best Milky Way photos of 2022

Best Milky Way: Tiny man standing on snowy peak with Milky Way arching overhead.
Best Milky Way photos of 2022! Tomáš Slovinský captured this image from Low Tatras, Slovakia. Tomáš wrote: “Although the winter portion of the Milky Way is much weaker than the summer portion, it’s still full of beautiful features that also deserve attention. This part of the galaxy contains many bright stars, particularly those of the Winter Hexagon. Over the subject (me), there’s a bright cone of zodiacal light pointing to a nice conjunction at the time: the red planet, Mars, just between 2 open star clusters, the Pleiades and Hyades.”

Best Milky Way photos of 2022

Dan Zafra emailed with word of his new compilation of the best Milky Way photos of 2022. Dan is editor of the travel photography blog Capture the Atlas, which focuses on landscape and night astrophotography. The 25 winning Milky Way photographers have 14 different nationalities. They took their award-winning photos in 12 countries around the world, in dark-sky locations away from urban light pollution.

We hope this Milky Way gallery inspires other photographers who want to capture images of our galaxy. For the rest of us … we hope this gallery helps bring the Milky Way, our home galaxy, closer to your heart.

Enjoy 10 of the best Milky Way photos, courtesy of the photographers and Capture the Atlas.

Egyptian Nights by Burak Esenbey

Milky Way appears through an irregular rock arch with a man in the distance.
Burak Esenbey took this image from the White Desert of Egypt. Esenbey wrote: “The desert in Egypt is divided into the White and Black Desert. The White Desert is somewhat rugged but mostly consists of fine, light Saharan sand. This part is really exciting, because in addition to photogenic sand dunes, there are also a lot of particularly shaped rock formations. Due to the many sandstorms, many of these rock formations are uniquely shaped and thus offer a wide variety of compositions. You will easily believe me when I say that it was really fun to be here.”

Lightning the Milky Way by Jinyi He

Two conical stone pillars and a bowl of rock with a person standing inside and Milky Way overhead.
Jinyi He took this image from Xinjiang, China. Jinyi wrote: “I took this photo in Dahaidao Desert, the no-man’s-land in Xinjiang. Because of the often fierce wind, this area gradually eroded into separate hills that take on the unique shape of a yardang (streamlined protuberance of bedrock). I found this location online after lots of research and drove there in a Land Cruiser with GPS.”

Path to the Past by José Manuel Galván Rangel

Large stone castle with many towers and with Milky Way arching overhead.
José Manuel Galván Rangel took this image from Extremadura, Spain. José wrote: “Not only are the flora and fauna of this lesser-known region spectacular, but so are the night skies, which are full of millions of stars that seem to light up when night falls. There are numerous Starlight Reserves in these uninhabited lands, with many astrophotographers traveling here as their favorite destination. In this town, Salvatierra de los Barros, which is practically unheard of by the rest of the world, you’ll find an imposing, privately owned castle that has been standing, under the light of millions of stars, since the 15th century.”

The Salt Road by Alexis Trigo

Road glowing in starlight snaking among barren hills with Milky Way arching overhead.
Alexis Trigo took this image from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Alexis wrote: “When you visit the Atacama Desert, with its arid formations and starry sky, you feel like you’re on another planet. An unbreakable silence reigns, which is ideal for introspection and contemplating the sky. One of my favorite features is the ground’s extensive layer of salt that reflects and enhances the scarce light, which comes mainly from zodiacal light and translates into less noise in the photograph. I discovered this corner one afternoon while I was on a bicycle looking for a unique panoramic view, and I’m so glad I found it!”

House of Lavender by Benjamin Barakat

Long rows of lavender and a shack with a cloud of stars stretching upward.
Benjamin Barakat took this image from Valensole, France. Benjamin wrote: “The smell and atmosphere of these lavender fields are unreal, and standing there among them in the middle of the night is blissful, especially since the bees have gone to sleep and you don’t risk getting stung! Nothing is better than a warm summer night with a beautiful view of the night sky and this lonely, iconic house that sits in the middle of the lavender plateau!”

Perseid Meteor Shower on Mangart Saddle by Uroš Fink

Numerous thin streaks of light in the sky and arching Milky Way over mountainous terrain.
Uroš Fink took this image from the Julian Alps, Slovenia. Uroš wrote: “My friend and I planned for 6 months in advance. I caught a few meteors, which brightened up the night. What surprised me while shooting is that Mangart Saddle was full of light from all sides and photographers eager for unforgettable moments and photographs. An idyllic location in the middle of the Saddle is the Mangart hut, where you can sleep and eat local cuisine. The highest peak in this part of the Julian Alps is Mangart, the 3rd highest mountain in Slovenia above which the Andromeda Galaxy emits its light.”

Secret by Marcin Zajac

Greenish sky with Milky Way and rock art in foreground.
Marcin Zajac took this image from California, USA. Marcin wrote: “Native Americans who inhabited this part of Eastern California carved these petroglyphs into a large volcanic boulder thousands of years ago. By chipping away at the dark surface of the rock, they exposed the lighter rock underneath. What’s unusual about this panel is that it faces upward toward the sky, enabling some interesting compositions that include the California Sierra Nevada mountains and the night sky in the same frame.”

Ice Age by Alvin Wu

Flat, dark blue ice with a figure and a yellow light with arching Milky Way overhead.
Alvin Wu took this image from Tibet. He titled it Ice Age. Alvin wrote: “This lake, located in Tibet, freezes every winter. At night, under the low temperatures of -4 degrees F (-20 degrees C), you can listen to the sound of the ice cracking while capturing the most beautiful winter sky. The blue ice surface and dazzling Orion constellation create a fantasy landscape. I felt so happy to have the stars as my companion on this magical night.”

Starlit Needle by Spencer Welling

Two narrow spires of rock with with Milky Way stretching from top left to bottom right.
Spencer Welling took this image from Utah, USA. Spencer wrote: “The badlands of Utah are brimming with stunning, unearthly landforms, hidden in the seldom-seen corners of the desert. This needle-like pinnacle is one such location nestled below a set of blue shale cliffs in the Hanksville Badlands. The night sky over this region offers some of the darkest, clearest views of the stars in the entire Southwest. On clear, moonless nights, the stars shine bright enough to cast perceptible shadows on the ground, as they did on this night when I was standing below the Needle.”

See all 25 of the best Milky Way photos at Capture the Atlas.

Bottom line: The blog “Capture the Atlas” has announced its 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year contest. Here, see 10 of the 25 best Milky Way photos from all over the world.

May 24, 2022
Today's Image

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

Kelly Kizer Whitt

View All