Dazzling constellations and magical night skies – see the best Milky Way photos

2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year
(Image credit: Evan McKay - 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year)

Every year, Capture the Altas – a photography, travel and adventure blog – shares the best photos of the Milky Way taken in the last 12 months. While astrophotography used to be an incredibly complex genre of photography, thanks to advances in camera technology it’s now easier than you might think to capture star-studded pictures of the night sky.

Of course, that doesn't make it any less magical – and if you own one of the best DSLRs or best mirrorless cameras and best tripods, you already have everything you need to start shooting the Milky Way. Some of the best cameras for astrophotography are specifically designed to shoot celestial events, but they are not essential to take a detailed picture of deep space.

Check out these astrophotography tips

While owning a decent camera will help, shooting a stunning picture of the night sky takes a creative eye, a spot of location scouting and a little bit of patience. Capturing the Milky Way on camera is a magical experience that allows us to view the night sky in a way our eyes simply can’t.

(Image credit: Takemochi Yuki - 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year)

Many of the images included in Capture the Atlas' 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year were taken in remote locations where there is no light pollution – but that’s not always the case, as Takemochi Yuki proves with the image Mt Fuji and the Milky Way over Lake Kawaguchi

Taken in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, the photo depicts a dazzling night sky over an illuminated city where the haze of light from both sources combines to create something truly ethereal. 

Other photos included in this year's Milky Way Photographer of the Year were taken in a range of stunning locations such as a frozen lake in Tibet, China, the badlands of Utah, coastal caves in Tenerife and The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park, Australia. 

If these magical, awe-inspiring images aren't enough to make you want to pack a bag, wrap up warm and head out with your camera gear we don't know what will. We’ve selected some of our favorite images from this year's selection below but if you’d like to see the full gallery, head to the Capture the Atlas website

The Milky Way arching over The Pinnacles Desert  Foreground: ISO 4000, f/2.8, 30 sec. (44 images) Sky: ISO 4000, f/2.8, 30 sec. (80 images, tracked (Image credit: Trevor Dobson)

Secret  Foreground: ISO 100, f/11, 30 sec. Sky: ISO 800, f/2, 2 min (Image credit: Marcin Zajac - 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year)

Lighting the Milky Way 4mm, ISO 5000, f/1.8, 20 sec. (Panorama of 4 stitched images) (Image credit: Jiniyi He - 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year)

Stargazing under Central Oregon skies Foreground: ISO 2500, f/8, 1/4 sec. (Blue hour) Sky: ISO 1250, f/4, 240 sec (tracked and stacked). (Image credit: Meghann David - 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year)

Starlit Needle Foreground: ISO 1600, f/8, 20 sec. (nautical twilight, 40 minutes after sunset) Sky: ISO 800, f/2.8, 240 sec. (12 tracked subs) (Image credit: Spencer Welling - 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year)

A Balcony to the Stars Foreground: Five-row panorama at 15mm, ISO 1250, f/2.8, 150 sec. Sky: 20mm, ISO 1600, f/2.8, 120 sec. Silhouette:  15mm, ISO 6400, f/2.8, 30 sec. (Image credit: Efren Yanes - 2022 Milky Way Photographer of the Year)

Read more: 

Best telescopes for astrophotography
Best CCD cameras for astrophotography
Best light pollution filters for astrophotography

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.