If you’re looking for a neat idea to try when it comes to astrophotography, how about creating a “little planet” photo of the Milky Way from where you live in the world? This beautiful photo was created by photographer Aditya Kinjawadekar.
“Since I live in a pretty light-polluted city, taking such photos from my home is a nightmare,” he tells PetaPixel. “I usually take a 7-hour drive to a very dark sky location on the west coast of India to take my images.”
The area he visits near Ratnagiri, India, is a Class 2 zone on the Bortle scale, which measures the night sky’s brightness of a location. A Class 2 zone is a “typical truly dark site.”
Once he had captured the entire sky, Kinjawadekar transferred the images to his computer and stitched them together in Microsoft ICE, the free advanced panoramic image stitcher created by the Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group.
The resulting circular fisheye image weighs in at a whopping 600 megapixels and captures a full 180° of the summer Milky Way from India. You can download a 67-megapixel version of the image here.
“I always wanted to capture a panorama like this but never really knew how to or had the right conditions to capture one,” Kinjawadekar says. “Now that I am at a very dark sky location, away from the city, I got an opportunity to take my dream shot just before the monsoon starts.”
Microsoft has taken down its official download links for ICE, but if you’d like a copy of the free software to try your own hand at this type of photo, you can still find the files through Archive.org (the Windows 64-bit version is here and the 32-bit version is here).
You can find more of Kinjawadekar’s work on his Instagram account, to which he regularly posts his astro photos, and you can contact him if you’d like to order a print.