Our galaxy, the Milky Way, as seen from Mauna Kea

This photograph, a 20 minute guided exposure, shows our galaxy as seen from Mauna Kea during the summer. The fuzzy round structures at the bottom are some of Mauna Kea's observatories (Gemini is in the front, standing 50 meters tall). This photograph spans from the southern horizon up to zenith. Our galaxy is a huge collection of stars that form a disk revolving around a central bulge. This bulge is the most luminous area in the photograph, with the highest density of stars.