This jaw-dropping galaxy photo equates to 1,060 hours of non-stop stargazing

There’s a trick to night-time photography: longer exposures. They soak up more light, making everything pop brilliantly in your shot, provided your camera stays really, really still.

Of course, most of the time, we’re still only talking extra seconds of exposure time, maybe minutes. Okay, in rare cases, hours. But a team of amateur astronomer photographers went way above and beyond that to bring you this scintillating image of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

What you’re looking at here is a stunning 1,060 hours of total exposure time, captured separately and then stitched together by a group of five French amateur astrophotographers called Ciel Austral, using the El Sauce Observatory in Chile.

016 lmc photo 1(Ciel Austral)

All up, that’s over six straight weeks of constant stargazing.

Can’t get time off work for those kind of shenanigans? No problem. Ciel Austral already did all the heavy lifting for you, and there’s an even more intense zoomable version right here (you’re welcome).

According to a sweet writeup on the AstroSpace blog, the original image is formed from 16 smaller fields of view that combine forces to make a 204-million-pixel mega-mosaic.

Oh, and the LMC is a pretty important thing to know about, exquisite photography aside. It’s one of the closest galaxies to the Milky Way, it’s full of unexpected and intense stuff, and don’t get worried or anything, but it’s headed straight for us.

Thanks for the memories, LMC. No hard feelings.

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