Alpha Centauri The Nearest Star to our Solar System

Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our Solar System.

Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to our Solar System.  At a distance of just 4.37 light years it is about 40 trillion kilometres away.  The southern milky way is a fabulous site.  I took this photo from Townsville in Queensland Australia.  On the far left you can see the small but distinctive constellation of Crux.  This constellation is known as the Southern Cross.  Just to the left of it is the Coalsack Nebula.  This nebula is made of dark dust that obscures the light of the stars behind it.

Moving left across the Milky Way we come to the star Alpha Centauri.  Alpha Centauri has a pretty yellow-orange colour.  To the far left of the image we can see the bulge of the galactic centre and part of the constellation of Sagittarius.

I took this photo using a Sony A7s.  I used a 28 mm prime lens that I bought off Ebay.  I was kindly given a barn door tracker and used that in the taking of this photo.  I used a shutter speed of 8 seconds.  I used an ISO of 51200.  I stacked about nine 8 second exposures for a total of 72 seconds.  The trees you can see are mango trees.

The final processing was done in both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.  If ever you get to visit the southern hemisphere, or if you live there make sure you get out to dark skies.  The Milky Way is a truly breathtaking site.

Alpha Centauri
Milky Way with notable features labelled.

Below you can see the original photo unprocessed.  This is how it looked straight out of the camera.

Alpha Centauri
The original unprocessed image.

If you have a moment check out my original tutorial on how to photograph the Milky Way!

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