The Milky Way in Full Force / by Shayanne Gal

ShayanneigansGalaxy

Looking back and reminiscing on photos from my year in Chile.... Here is a long-exposure shot I took of our galaxy as we know it, The Milky Way in full force. The universe and everything beyond it. Here in my lens. 

I took this photo while looking up at the clearest night sky I've ever seen, in the driest desert in the world, The Atacama Desert of Northern Chile. I remember when I was growing up in New York, and hardly any stars appeared in the sky each night, just faint little sparkles scattered here and there. I'd always heard of people speaking about the night sky filled with stars, and I'd always dreamed of seeing something so phenomenal and so beyond our material humanity. Once I arrived in North Carolina, there were more stars in the sky, more scattered sparkles, more substance to stare at and to admire each night. 

And then... this. This night sky in Chile. I could've stared at forever. In the little town of San Pedro de Atacama, once the nighttime came, darkness took over. There were no streetlights, or factories, no pollution, no highways. There was just this. Bright, beautiful night sky filled with the most stars I had ever seen in my entire life. Encompassing our entire galaxy, our world. There were more stars than sky. And as I looked up at this sky, I felt something so ethereal, so strange and so wonderful, something I had never felt before. A sensation that this, this right here, is all we have and all we are. And this is the force that keeps us going. That gives us life. The Universe is at the center of everything, and we are at the center of that said Universe.