During my holiday in La Palma this was one of my primary targets on my list to photograph. Unfortunately this part of the sky would only rise high enough for me to photograph at around 4:00AM. I spent 3 nights on this target to get enough data for the four panels of this mosaic.
This is the central ‘bulge’ of our own Milky Way. We are located at around 26,000 lightyears away from the centre. You can clearly see the dark dust lanes running through the Milky Way. Furthermore a lot of nebula’s (the pink blobs) and globular clusters are visible like M20, M8, M11 etc.
This photo is actually my first mosaic, so I had to do a bit of research and a lot of trial and error to get the right results. Fortunately I found a very good tutorial over on the Light Vortex Astronomy website.
After creating the mosaic the remaining processing of the image was still a bit of a challenge in regards to getting rid of the gradient while keeping the Milky Way nicely intact. It took some careful usage of the awesome DBE tool in Pixinsight to get the desired result. After this the processing was really easy;
Initial stretch using the masked stretch
HistogramTransformation to stretch the image a bit further
LocalHistogramTransformation to emphasize the dark dustlanes in the image
Linear adjustments for some contrast and saturation.
Image acquisition details
Mosaic of 4 images taken with Nikon D7000, Nikkor 24-85mm F2.8 @24mm F4
3min exposures at ISO800