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See the best Milky Way photos of 2024

Best Milky Way photos: Trees on an island stand in front of a glowing Milky Way.
Marc Rassel took this image at Lake Superior in Minnesota. Rassel wrote: “I’ve visited this spot many times, and each visit is unique. That’s the allure of Lake Superior’s shore: It constantly changes with the weather and seasons, never growing old.” See more of Capture the Atlas‘ best Milky Way photos of 2024 below.

Best Milky Way photos of 2024

It’s that time of the year again when we gaze with wonder upon some of the world’s best images of our home, the Milky Way galaxy. Dan Zafra emailed us with the release of the top 25 images he curated for 2024. Dan is editor of the travel photography blog Capture the Atlas, which focuses on landscape and astrophotography. The 25 winning Milky Way photos come from 15 different countries.

We hope this gallery inspires other astrophotographers to capture amazing images of the night sky. And submit them to us! If you want to see the Milky Way with your own eyes, find a dark-sky location near you. In the meantime, enjoy our 10 spectacular selections of the best Milky Way photos of 2024.

Atmospheric fireworks by Julien Looten

A French chateau with an arching Milky Way and bands of iridescent colors stretching over top.
Julien Looten captured this image from Dordogne, France. Looten wrote: “Last winter, I ventured to the foot of a medieval castle in France to capture the Milky Way’s ‘winter’ arc. Alongside the stunning celestial vault, an exceptional airglow illuminated the sky, resembling multicolored clouds. This natural phenomenon occurs due to a chemical reaction in the upper atmosphere, emitting faint light known as chemiluminescence.”

Lightning Lake by Tom Rae

The Milky Way standing on end over a snow-capped mountain, with mountains on the edges and a lake in front.
Tom Rae took this image from Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand. Rae wrote: “This image embodies the dedication, sleepless nights and the fulfillment of completing my vision. The image features icebergs in the cyan-blue glacial lake, red airglow painting the sky, and the glow of billions of stars in the Milky Way: a glimpse into the vastness beyond.”

Starlight Therapy by Kavan Chay

An arching Milky Way over a campsite in the mountains.
Kavan Chay also captured this image in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand. Chay wrote: “The Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park has always brought joy and interesting stories, regardless of when I visit. The night under the stars was breathtaking. Perfect nights like this make you appreciate the opportunity to witness it all. As the sun rose, tents lit up and people stirred. A resident kea decided 5 a.m. was a good time to harass a few people, which is when I captured the foreground panorama.”

Saoseo by Alexander Forst

Mountainous terrain with brightly lit Milky Way behind and reflections in a pond.
Alexander Forst took this image in Graubuenden, Switzerland. Forst wrote: “This lake is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful, renowned for its striking blue color, perfect for Milky Way photography from late July. It gets very cold after sunset; we had forgotten our jackets in the car 1.5 hours away. To keep warm, we walked around the lake while waiting for the Milky Way.”

Mungo Dreamtime by John Rutter

The Milky Way arching over a dry landscape with rock spire and red gas-lit regions in the sky.
John Rutter captured this image in Mungo National Park, NSW, Australia. Rutter wrote: “This Mars-like landscape is the shores of Ancient Lake Mungo, housing the oldest human remains outside Africa: a significant site for all humankind. Its remote location grants it a Bortle 1 sky, allowing you to stand where the first Australians once did and gaze at the same sky they beheld 100,000 years ago. The beauty of the arid, wind-carved landscape and the untouched sky is only eclipsed by the rich history of this area.”

Blue Lagoon Under the Stars by Yuri Beletsky

The Milky Way standing up in the sky with a white pyramidal shape to the right and a glowing blue pool in front.
Yuri Beletsky took this image from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Beletsky wrote: “I captured this view at one of the remote sites of the Atacama Desert in Chile. The galactic center was already shining high in the sky, with the Zodiacal light beautifully complementing it on the right. The blue color was as real as the stars in the sky, adding a touch of magic to the scene. It was an absolutely incredible experience!”

Road to Winter Paradise by Andrea Curzi

The Milky Way arching over a snowy, mountainous landscape with some roads and buildings in the mountains.
Andrea Curzi took this image in Passo Giau, Italy. Curzi wrote: “Temperatures are around -8 degrees Celsius (18 F) with strong winds (resulting in a lower perceived temperature). This was an overview I had long dreamed of capturing, meticulously planned from home to the field. Luck was on my side as heavy snowfall the day before left untouched terrain, allowing for pristine snow patterns sculpted by the wind.”

Blooming Bottle Tree by Rositsa Dimitrova

A thick-trunked tree with few branches beneath a bright Milky Way.
Rositsa Dimitrova captured this image from the island of Socotra, Yemen. Dimitrova said: “The alien-looking foregrounds truly took my breath away. The gorgeous bottle trees of Socotra are especially beautiful in full bloom. I was 11 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child when I visited. I’m now dreaming of taking my 2 daughters to Socotra one day for an experience they will never, ever forget.”

Milky Way at Morning Glory Pool by Jerry Zhang

Milky Way glowing in the background and a rainbow colored pool in the foreground.
Jerry Zhang took this image in Yellowstone National Park. Zhang wrote: “Morning Glory is a renowned hot spring within Yellowstone National Park, shaped by hydrothermal features that foster vibrant habitats for microscopic organisms. On a warm summer night, I finished this photo with one hand, and with the other hand tightly gripping bear spray! But despite the fear of wildlife, it was a very enjoyable night spent alone with the stars all around.”

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

Bottom line: The blog “Capture the Atlas” has announced its 2024 Milky Way Photographer of the Year contest. Here, see 10 of the 25 best Milky Way photos from all over the world.

May 24, 2024
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