'New York to London Milky Way,' a totally sweet astronomy photo


New York to London Milky Way, by Alessandro Merga, recently featured as NASA's Astronomy photo of the day.

Bright stars
of Sagittarius
and the center of our
Milky Way Galaxy
lie just off the wing of a Boeing 747 in
this astronomical travel photo.

The stratospheric scene was captured
earlier this month during a flight from
New York to
11,000 meters above the Atlantic Ocean.

Of course the sky was clear and dark at that altitude,
ideal conditions for astronomical imaging.

But there were challenges to overcome
while looking out a passenger window of the aircraft
moving at nearly 1,000 kilometers per hour (600 mph).

Over 90 exposures of 30 seconds or less were attempted with a fast lens
and sensitive camera setting, using a small, flexible tripod and
a blanket to block reflections of interior lighting.

In the end, one 10 second long exposure resulted in this steady and
colorful example of
airborne astronomy.