Nighttime Mt. Rainier reflects in a shallow lake shortly after moonrise. The lake is getting ever smaller as aquatic vegetation takes root and mud collects on the lake bed. With the Milky Way’s starry sky right behind the mountain it appears as being exhaled from the volcanoes summit. The famous W-shaped Cassiopeia con-stellation stands out brightly together with the double star clusters, NGC 869 and 884, also called h+c Persei to the top-right of the summit. Both star clusters contain hundreds of stars and are part of the Perseus spiral arm of our galaxy in a distance of 7000 light years. The elongated bright object to the right above the forest is our nearest neighboring galaxy Andromeda, M31. Its disc is twice as wide as our Milky Way and 2.2 million light years away from Earth. The Cygnus constellation with its brightest star Deneb is visible at the top of the image together with the reddish North America Nebula, NGC 7000, consisting of ionized hydrogen.

August 2008
Canon 20D, Canon EF-S 10-22mm, f/3.5, static and dynamic exposure of 4 min, ISO 800, tripod, AstroTrac TT320 digital astronomical mount

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