Star Light, Star Bright

Image of the Milky Way in the Area of the Constellation Cygnus

Last night was one of those nights when the sky was clear and dark. The Milky Way was faintly visible overhead from my backyard, traversing the sky from horizon to horizon. I decided to experiment with something I’ve wanted to try for a while.

I took 14 photos with my cell phone camera set to pro-mode, with speeds from ISO 400 to ISO 800 and exposure times of 4 to 8 seconds each. Then I used some image-stacking software to combine the images.

Raw Images from Cellphone

The image-stacking process increases the resolution and signal-to-noise ratio in the combined image - bringing out fainter objects and finer details.

Stacked Images Using Sequator Software

Lastly, I used GIMP (similar to Photoshop) to do some light image processing to tease out a bit more detail from the photo.

Final Processed Image of the Milky Way in the Area of the Constellation Cygnus

It's amazing how far technology has come. With some quick photos from my phone and a few minutes of software processing, the star clouds of the Milky Way and the dark bands of the interstellar dust lanes in the region of the constellation Cygnus are distinctly visible, with no telescope required.

Originally published on LinkedIn.