View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Cecille Kennedy in Cape Kiwanda State Natural Park, Oregon, captured this photo of the Milky Way on August 31, 2021. She wrote: “The bright green radiance to the right of the Milky Way, just over Chief Kiawanda Rock, is airglow, also called nightglow. Swedish physicist Anders Angstrom first identified the airglow phenomenon in 1868. It comes in different colors. The green airglow, fainter than zodiacal light, pervades the night sky from equator to pole. It usually appears 10-15 degrees above the horizon of the observer. The green airglow in the photo is not visible to my eyes, but the camera picked it up to my delight.” Thank you, Cecille!
Milky Way galaxy season is starting to wrap up. Some of the best months for evening viewing of
our home galaxy come between May and October. In July and August – late summer for us in the Northern Hemisphere – the thickest part of the Milky Way is on view during the evening hours. The galaxy’s center is located in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius, with its famous Teapot asterism. Our readers have shared breathtaking images of the Milky Way this year. Some of our favorites are below. Also check out EarthSky Community Photos for more images of the Milky Way, space, and our Earth. And you can share your own, too. Enjoy more Milky Way photos
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Simon Capone in Lesmurdie Falls, Perth, Western Australia, captured this photo of the Milky Way on August 14, 2021. He wrote: “Shoot the Milky Way from the metro area? Why not :) Located on the outskirts of Perth, Western Australia, Lesmurdie Falls is a popular hiking location close to home. I decided to give it a go, despite the light pollution in the area, as well as a 36% moon phase.” Thank you, Simon!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mimi Ditchie in Lone Pine, California, captured this photo of the Milky Way on August 10, 2021. She wrote: “This image was taken at an arch in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. It was taken about 10 p.m. when the Milky Way was at its brightest to my eye. I was attempting to get the galactic center within the arch. A fellow photographer I met up with provided the light painting with a small light panel.” Thank you, Mimi!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Chirag Bachani in Copper Breaks State Park, Texas, captured this photo of the Milky Way on July 10, 2021. Chirag wrote: “This image of the summer Milky Way displays many different features of the night sky. The galactic core is the brightest part of the Milky Way and faces directly toward the black hole at the center of our galaxy. The set of colorful stars slightly to the right of the Milky Way is known as Rho Ophiuchi. Additionally, the Lagoon Nebula is visible as a small pink speck near the galactic core. It is hard to believe that such a stunning view is directly above us when seen from dark skies.” Thank you, Chirag!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Miguel Sala at the Ruins of Ares Castle in Teruel, Spain, captured this photo of the Milky Way on July 10, 2021. Notice near the center of the photo that he’s marked the direction to the galaxy’s star-rich center. When we look in this direction, we’re looking toward the thickest part of the Milky Way in our sky, a region crowded with star clusters and nebulae. The famous Teapot in Sagittarius – a well-known guide to the galaxy’s center – is also in this direction (and on the left side of this photo). Thank you, Miguel!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Simon Capone was able to photograph the Milky Way above Morangup, Australia, on July 10, 2021, and wrote: “I was testing out some foreground shots while exploring the back roads around Morangup, it was getting towards the end of blue hour and started seeing the Milky Way appearing in longer exposures. The foreground and initial image are at this time, then waited 15 mins for the sky to darken for a bit more detail to come out, and stacked the resulting images. Luckily this back road is a dead end/not used much so was able to setup the tripod in the middle. Back in Perth was a cloudy evening … Glad I took a punt on clear skies further East. Morangup is about an hour’s drive from Perth city, rated as Bortle class 3, you are able to see the Milky Way with the unaided eye as it arches east to west this time of year.” How beautifully composed, Simon.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | This shot of the Milky Way was taken by Jelieta Walinski in Becida, Minnesota, on July 10, 2021. Jelieta says that “Spring and early summer Minnesota’s night sky is so terrible. But tonight, I was blessed with crystal clear seeing. I got out there and capture this amazing Milky just in our backyard. I continued taking several captures and the owl just hooting on me. Was I disturbing their night, or them disturbing mine, YOU’LL NEVER KNOW WHO! But that was a soothing music of my sleepless night.” Thank you, Jelieta!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Willie Zayas in Monsaraz, Portugal, captured this photo of the Milky Way on June 11, 2021. He wrote: “In this photograph the small town of Monsaraz in Portugal can be seen on top of the hill in the center of the image. This beautiful town is located right next to the Alqueva water reservoir and in the dark sky reserve with stunning starry nights.” Thanks, Willie!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Our friend Prashant Naik captured this Milky Way panorama at the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Portland, Maine, on June 10, 2021. Prashant wrote: “That night at Pemaquid Point in Maine, was no ordinary. At midnight and long after, in the haze of the sky, millions of stars glittered in startling colors. It was a lovely night filled with friends, laughter and good conversation as we wait in anticipation of the moon to steal the show. Standing at the edge of the sea stack, I witnessed the Milky Way arching across the night sky with all the blazing stars shimmering in its cosmic clouds. It was glorious! Like a painting on a big canvas of night sky with luminescent strokes in shades of blue. Yet, it was still midnight. A night to remember. A night to remind you of the eventful dawn.” Thanks, Prashant! Our home spiral from early spring
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Cecille Kennedy in Cape Foulweather, Oregon, captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 17, 2021. She wrote: “At the base of the faint Milky Way arch, the stars of the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius hold their own brilliance with manmade lights below. Seeing Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius, means that the Milky Way galactic core is to its left.” Thank you, Cecille!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Bob Kuo in Little Finland, Nevada, captured this photo of the Milky Way and meteors on April 15, 2021. He wrote: “This was one of the shots I took to make a Milky Way panorama so the composition is not really ideal! However, I was surprised to see three or four meteors flying by during the take (and caught 2 in this frame!). I even managed to capture 3 the next shot. They are not ‘fireballs’ and it’s not close to peak time of any ‘-ids’ (Lyrids is about two weeks away at the time), but it’s nice to see them still!” Thank you, Bob!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Cecilia Ray in Sedona, Arizona, captured this photo of the Milky Way and a meteor on April 14, 2021. She wrote: “I was running a time lapse of the Milky Way rising. As I went through about 600 images, this meteor appeared only in this photo. Unbelievable. This was my first Milky Way.” Thank you, Cecilia!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Firman Nurdiansyah in East Java, Indonesia, captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 13, 2021. He wrote: “The Milky Way rising above Mt. Arjuno, with a tourist vehicle as a foreground.” Thank you, Firman!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jeff Berkes in Goblin Valley, Utah, captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 11, 2021. He wrote: “My first air traveling trip since last spring was earlier this month. It was hard, and weird to not get on a plane for a whole year. With Covid circulating and my precautions for my two young children taking the front seat, it kept me and many others to roadtrippin’. With me being fully vaccinated and better aware of the situation, it was time to get back on the airwaves. Two workshops that I was conducting in Utah last year were postponed due to closures in the national parks system and the fact that we were all in lockdown. We rescheduled the workshops for 2021 with high hopes, and I arrived a day early to do some exploring on my own. Goblin Valley was always place I wanted to visit, and I finally had the opportunity to spend a night here while checking off another campground visit on my list. I didn’t have a ton of time here, but that did not matter because every which way you looked there was something extraordinary to gaze at. I will definitely be conducting a workshop here in the near future! Here is one of the images I created on my stay. I hope you enjoy! More of my work and night sky photography workshops can been seen here on my website at www.jeffberkes.com.” Thank you, Jeff!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Dean Balosie in DuPuis Management Area, Florida, captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 10, 2021. He wrote: “Galactic center on the rise just before the sun.” Thank you, Dean!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Tejus Shah in New Hampshire captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 9, 2021. He wrote: “New England weather is unpredictable this time of year. Even day-to-day forecasts can change. All signs were pointing to clear skies but in strategic areas, and my initial plan was to hit the southern coast of Massachusetts. But as ‘go time’ got closer, I started getting an uneasy feeling looking at the way the clouds were moving. I decided to ditch the plan and go north instead. And it paid off. When I got to this location, there skies were incredibly clear. The added bonus came with the beautiful mist that hovered over.” Thank you, Tejus!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Sheryl Garrison in Waterton Park, Alberta, Canada, captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 6, 2021. She wrote: “Celebrating International Dark Sky Week and taking all necessary bear precautions, we headed to Waterton Lakes National Park (a designated provisional International Dark Sky Park) to photograph the galactic center of the Milky Way. In the distance is Chief Mountain and others of the Lewis Range in Montana, U.S.” Thank you, Sheryl!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Marc Toso in Eastern Nevada, captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 5, 2021. He wrote: “It’s been almost a year since I’ve done a shot like this. It was good to quietly watch the stars again. This rock art alone sits on the highest point of a hill, surrounded by 360 degrees of view, engulfed in the remnants of a stone circle. I like the idea that it is an observatory of the night sky. But I have no idea. It seems likely that someone stood here at night before me. The air was cold. I was fortunate that the wind was absent. Waiting for the long exposures to click by, the only sounds were my breathing and the blood in my heart, reminding myself that we are not much different than the stone and sky. Hoping for more time under the sky soon.” Thank you, Marc!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Samee Ullah in Naran, KPK, Pakistan, captured this photo of the Milky Way on April 1, 2021. Samee wrote: “Milky Way in the suburbs of Naran, Pakistan.” Thank you, Samee!
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jatinkumar Thakkar in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, captured this photo of the Milky Way on March 20, 2021. He wrote: “Cape Cod has the darkest sky within the state. As the Milky Way season has begun, my friends and I decided to go to Cape Cod to take pictures of the Milky Way near the seashore. What a calm and clear night! We could see a clear reflection of the Milky Way in the water.” Thank you, Jatinkumar!
Bottom line: Milky Way season is upon us, and EarthSky readers are sharing their best photos of our home galaxy with our community.
Kelly Kizer Whitt
About the Author:
Kelly Kizer Whitt has been a science writer specializing in astronomy for more than two decades. She began her career at Astronomy Magazine, and she has made regular contributions to AstronomyToday and the Sierra Club, among other outlets. Her children’s picture book, Solar System Forecast, was published in 2012. She has also written a young adult dystopian novel titled A Different Sky. When she is not reading or writing about astronomy and staring up at the stars, she enjoys traveling to the national parks, creating crossword puzzles, running, tennis, and paddleboarding. Kelly lives with her family in Wisconsin.