Epic Milky Way at La Palma Island
Sometimes real magic happens in astrophotography. We were on a scouting mission for new imaging sites on our favorite astro island and we only had our ultra- lightweight imaging equipment with us. La Palma had been riddled with unstable weather conditions in the past few days, ranging from searing hot sunshine to thunderstorms with torrential rains with only a few hours in-between. So, we didn’t go too far from where we had parked the car. It was already well past dusk when the clouds started to recede. We were at a place near the coast with a nice view of the Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly the clouds parted and we saw the Milky Way like a pillar of light rising from the ocean’s waves. The curly sea even reflected its brilliant glow! We quickly reconfigured our photo gear to catch this epic scenery. With the thunderous clamor of the waves breaking on the rocks below our imaging site we had to shout to coordinate our actions. The image shows what we got. We used a Canon EOS 1100Da DSLR camera body with a 16mm wide-angle lens working @f/5.6 on a photo tripod to shoot this image. A new mechanical tracker, the Mini Track LX2, provided reliable tracking for the 4-minute exposure. To make the star patterns more obvious the stars were deliberately blurred with a diffuser lens filter. In the center of the image Saturn shines brightly. The foreground is from a second unfiltered shot made without tracking. [Released November 28, 2018]