The Milky Way captured in all its glory by top night-sky photographers (who reveal how and where YOU can take great pictures of the stars, too)
- Images include those taken by Albert Dros, who travelled to a canyon in Kyrgyzstan to snap the Milky Way
- Italian photographer Leonardo Orazi captures a mesmerising star trail in a valley in the Italian Alps
- One of Andrew Whyte’s out-of-this-world pictures show the supermoon high above Exmoor National Park
No wonder these are heavenly pictures – they were all snapped by some of the world’s top night-sky photographers at amazing locations across the globe.
They show the moon, the stars and meteor showers against some of the world’s most beautiful backdrops.
And the experts who took the images have been sharing their top tips for crisp night-time snaps.
Specialist astro-photographer Albert Dros captured this stunning image of the Milky Way close to a canyon in Kyrgyzstan on the south of the Issyk-Kul lake
UK-based photographer Andrew Whyte shot this stunning image of the Milky Way high up on the cliffs of the Dorset coast
This dramatic image was shot by photographer Alexander Heinrichs across a plain in Africa in the nation of Namibia
Some have been snapped by Dutch astro-photographer Albert Dros, who travelled to a canyon in Kyrgyzstan to capture the Milky Way.
His Italian counterpart Leonardo Orazi captured mesmerising star trail images near Sestriere in The Alps and Andrew Whyte took an out-of-this-world picture showing the supermoon high above Exmoor National Park.
So just how do they produce such mesmerising shots?
All three recommend using the new Sony 24mm F1.4m GM lens, which they all agree is an important part of their kit.
Mr Dros said: ‘The night sky is infinitely beautiful and people go to great lengths to capture its awe-inspiring beauty.
‘Fortunately, the new 24mm F1.4m GM lens captures great detail and suppresses sagittal flare, doing a lot of the work for you so you can capture the beautiful scenes with ease.’
Another shot by Mr Dros that he captured in Kyrgyzstan. He recommends using a new Sony 24mm F1.4m GM lens
While Mr Orazi said: ‘Having lightweight equipment is crucial for me as I walk along the mountainside. At only 400g, the new Sony lens is the ultimate companion.’
The Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 are also recommended by experts for great night-time photos.
According to the International Dark-Sky Association, some of the best locations around Europe to capture starry photography is Exmoor National Park in the UK, thanks to its minimal light pollution, and La Palma in the Canary Isles, which usually has clear night skies.
Other places include the Dolomites in Italy, the mountainous Bukk National Park in Hungary, and the popular Cevennes National Park in France.
One of photographer Leonardo Orazi’s favourite places to snap night-sky images is in the Italian Alps. This stunning shot was taken in the Chisone Valley close to Turin
A dramatic image of a star trail above Exmoor National Park, left. Pictured right is the supermoon shining bright above the Devon coast. Both images were captured by Andrew Whyte
And if you’re looking for something unique to snap in the night sky here are some dates for the diary.
In a matter of days, on March 21, the final supermoon for 2019 will be visible and ready for photographers to capture in all of its glory.
In early May, astronomers can also look forward to the Eta Aquaris Meteor Shower, while on July 2, there will be a total solar eclipse over South American and the Pacific regions.
On July 16, there will be a partial lunar eclipse visible through most of Europe, Africa, central Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile at the end of the year, around December 14, the sky will be illuminated with shooting stars during the Geminid meteor shower.
WHERE AND WHEN TO CATCH THE BEST STARRY SKIES
The best places to catch the night sky in Europe
1. Exmoor National Park, UK – Established as an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2011, you’ll find minimal light pollution. Many of its scenic spots are comfortably accessible at night and it’s far enough south to offer a view of the Milky Way core from March to September.
2. La Palma, Canary Isles – Situated in the Atlantic some distance from continental Europe and with a mild and stable climate, La Palma offers a year-round chance of clear night sky views.
3. The Dolomites, Italy – With beautiful mountainous terrain and a climate that supports skiing in winter and sunbathing in summer, clear skies in the Dolomites will give you a range of photographic opportunities throughout the year.
4. Bükk National Park, Hungary – Mountainous Bükk is Hungary’s largest national park, situated among the country’s tallest peaks, surrounded by mesmerising waterfalls and caves.
5. Cévennes National Park, France – A recent addition to the list of International Dark Sky sites, Cévennes sits in an area popular for camping, making summer nights beneath the stars a real possibility.
The astronomical moments to be ‘camera ready’ for in 2019
1. The Supermoon (March 21) – The final supermoon for 2019 as it reaches its closest point to the Earth for the year. Head to a beautiful location to capture it in all its glory.
2. Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower (May 6 to 7) – Likely to be the best chance of enjoying the meteor shower of the year, as the thin crescent moon leaves an inky black sky. It is the perfect canvas for a spectacular shooting star show.
3. Total Solar Eclipse (July 2) – This eclipse will not be visible from Europe but travellers to South America and the Pacific regions will appreciate the spectacular sight. Remember, it is important you never look directly at the Sun, even during an eclipse.
4. Partial Lunar Eclipse (July 16) A small part of the Moon’s surface will be covered by the darkest part of the Earth’s shadow. You’ll be able to see it through most of Europe as well as Africa, central Asia and the Indian Ocean.
5. Geminid Meteor Shower (Dec 14) – The sky will be illuminated with shooting stars for around a week, but it’s expected to reach its peak on December 14 when you could see up to 100 meteors per hour.
Source: The International Dark Sky Association