It has been a while since I had the opportunity to process some wide-field colour astrophotography images. Having a three week old newborn will do that to you! This is an accidental crop from a much larger nightscape image which just made me go “wow” when I struck upon it as I was processing the whole image. I was struggling to get the whole image balanced nicely when I realised there was another opportunity hidden within.
This is only a single frame and early in the evening when temperatures hadn’t fully cooled, so you can see some noise in the image, however it is not dominant. I’ve chosen to keep the noise and not risk losing any of the sharpness in the stars, millions of which dominate the field (especially at the full 4000 pixel wide resolution of this file). The cloud on the right blurs as it moves through the frame during the one minute exposure. Just think – the cloud is maybe a few kilometers above the ground, the stars just behind the cloud are perhaps 9.4605284 × 10^15 kilometres (they vary in distance of course but you get the idea).