This shot of the Milky Way is made up of a total exposure time of about one and a half hours. Visible to the upper left is the Andromeda Galaxy with the Double Cluster (NGC 884 & 886 below that). Various red emission nebula are visible as well, notably the IC 1318 complex and North American (NGC 7000) and Pelican (IC 5070) nebulas at the upper left quarter. North is to the left.
To get such a long exposure time, I took what might be called a Deep Sky Astrophotography approach instead of a more traditional Landscape type approach.
A common Landscape approach is to take a single (or sometimes multiple) exposure of a few (10 to 30) seconds at high ISO on a stationary tripod. The exposure time is limited to a few seconds because the earth’s rotation will cause trailing with longer exposures. Often times a terrestrial foreground is included (some examples of mine here here and here). While this approach can result in very attractive images, the short exposure and high ISO can not capture the more fine and dim details of the Milky Way.
To get around this limitation of short exposure times, I took the approach more normally used to image dim Deep Sky Objects or DSOs (see my DSO work here). The main part of that is to use an equatorial mount to track the stars as they move across the night sky. The drawback is that any foreground objects will be blurred due to the mounts movement as it tracks the stars. I had some (blurred…) trees in the corners that I cropped out.
Click on the image below for a larger version.
Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 27-70 2.8II at f/2.8 & 28mm on a Takahashi NJP equatorial mount unguided. 13 eight minute exposures at ISO 400 stacked with Deep Sky Stacker.