Click on the image to load a larger version.

'La Via Lactea' over the Spanish Peaks

The swath of colour and stars seen here between the two peaks is actually the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, while the twin peaks are actually called the Spanish Peaks located in Southern Colorado, USA. Although each Spanish peak is composed of a slightly different type of rock, both are approximately 25 million years old. The image was meticulously created by merging a series of images all taken from the same location on one night. At the start of the evening, the natural moonlight was used to illuminate the snow-capped mountains.  Once the moon was set, a second series of exposures were taken to build up the background sky, with great detail being revealed in the Milky Way dust lanes as well as the large colorful region surrounding the star Rho Ophiuchus just right of center.  One sky image was taken using a fogging filter so that brighter stars, especially those marking the Teapot, would appear more spread out and so more prominent.  Can you spot Mars and Saturn in this image?  They are both there, look carefully!

Camera:  Canon 5D MKIII with Full Spectrum Modification
Lens:  Canon 20-70mm at 28mm, f2.8
Mount: Vixen Polarie, Tripod Mounted
Exposures:   Foreground (Mountains):  60 seconds, ISO 800, Milky Way: Multiple 30 second exposures, ISO 1600.