Photographer Captures Shooting Star and the Milky Way Galaxy While On Top of a Mountain

A person stands on top of a mountain as a meteor and the Milky Way Galaxy shines above them.

A photographer captured a shooting star, the Milky Way Galaxy, and the Alps during the Perseids meteor shower — a celestial event that is underway again in 2023.

Nicholas Roemmelt climbed a mountain to capture his image — a blend of different exposures taken from the same spot without the camera moving. The most difficult part was capturing a meteor.

“We had seen a lot of shooting stars in that night on that mountain but always in the wrong direction,” he tells PetaPixel.

“So the camera was continuously capturing one picture after the other. I desperately wanted that composition but the shootings stars had all been out of the planned frame.”

That was until a huge meteor came burning into Roemmelt’s field of view and in the perfect spot too; right next to the Milky Way’s core making for a stunning image.

The Right Conditions

Roemmelt captured the shot in 2018 and it was recently featured on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. However, the image almost never came to be because of poor weather on the Tyrolean peaks.

“The summits often were covered in clouds and the different weather forecasts were completely contradicting,” he explains.

A person stands on top of a mountain as a meteor and the Milky Way Galaxy shines above them.

However, the Austrian photographer made the trek up Mount Tschirgant anyway and the clouds mercifully cleared.

“The haze of the high humidity was intensifying the strong light pollution of the valley but the conditions had already been much better than I had hoped as all clouds had vanished above our summit,” says Roemmelt.

Editing the Image

The image is, of course, a composite as it is virtually impossible to correctly capture all the elements in the final image. But everything in the scene was really there, Roemmelt is keen to stress it is not a “fake” composite.

“The foreground, the Milky Way, and the (Perseids) shooting star have been edited together on one single picture,” he explains.

“I additionally added (and blended) the pictures for the exposure bracketing due to the bright lights of the city and a focus stack with the person in the foreground.”

Roemmelt used a Canon 1DX Mark II with a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 lens attached to capture the image.

The Perseid meteor shower begun once again on July 14, running until September 1. They are expected to peak in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday August 13.

More of his work can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and his website.

Image credits: Nicholas Roemmelt.