“It looks like a lunar landscape but this remarkable photograph actually shows our Milky Way and the planet Jupiter in all their glory - viewed from a cave in America's Utah desert. The spiral galaxy, which cannot be seen with the naked eye, was captured by photographer Wally Pacholka using a 35mm camera and 50mm lens on a tripod with a 30-second exposure - long enough to collect the light but not to see the stars moving.
Click image for larger size.Pacholka, an architect from Long Beach, California, relied on the light of a crescent moon to illuminate the subject and chose the area because of the near-absence of ambient light. He said: 'I had to drive 800 miles each way five times to get the shot right. And I had to hike two miles to the cave and back again at night, getting lost each time I came out.' His photo shows the Milky Way - estimated to be 100,000 light years in diameter and 1,000 light years deep - and Jupiter (to the top left), the biggest planet in the solar system with a diameter 11 times that of Earth's. After Venus, Jupiter is the second-brightest planet despite being about 390 million miles from Earth. The cave, which has been carved out of the desert's red sandstone rock, lies to the south-east of Salt Lake City and is estimated to be 300 million years old. The area is rich with Native American ruins.”