Photographing the Milky Way is remarkable because what you see on your camera is magnitudes more intricate than what you can visualize with your eyes. I was teaching a workshop in Montana the other day, and we took advantage of the big, clear, dark skies and it was so much fun to see people ooh and ahh over the images appearing on their cameras. With Autumn around the corner, it’s a terrific time to take advantage of earlier sunsets and cool clear skies before the winter makes it a lot more difficult to stay out at nighttime. Here are some tips to get you started making pictures of the Milky Way.
The Milky Way is simply a thick concentration of stars. Our galaxy is a whole lot of stars and they have spread outward from the center in a disc shape. The Earth is part way out from the center on one side, so when we look at the night sky we can see toward the center of the galaxy and that’s the brightest area of the Milky Way–we’re looking through the thickest part of the cloud of stars filling the galaxy and that’s why it’s bright and dense. It’s also a powerful thing to sit and consider what you’re looking at. One of my students didn’t make any pictures at all that night–he just lay on his back looking upward, and I think he was the most satisfied of everyone.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.