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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Astrophoto: Flames of the Milky Way

By Phil Plait

Photographer Florian Breuerâwho took the incredible Namibian Quiver Trees photoâhas created another breathtaking shot: The Milky Way arcing over Theewaterskloof Dam in South Africa.

[The image is very wide for its height, so you really want to click to embiggen it.]

The arcing isnât real; thatâs due to the use of a wide-angle lens. The light on the horizon is from clouds illuminated by the nearby towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. And while I am no fan of light pollution, it does provide a pretty dramatic scene, like the Milky Way itself is erupting into flames as it approaches the horizon.

The trees in the lake are haunting. On his page describing how he created this image (a mosaic of 20 separate exposures) he talks about the bleached stumps straining out of the water. Itâs worth a read, especially for the close-up photo he took of one of the stumps. Itâs actually quite lovely and eerie.

In fact, go look at his (all-too-brief) portfolio on Google+. Heâs a gifted photographer, and youâll be glad you visited.

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