An amateur photographer has stunned astronomers by capturing these majestic images of the Milky Way.
Carl Jones, 36, ventured into Snowdonia National Park after dark and photographed the striking cluster of stars, which stretch in straight lines either side of a dark void.
His images, which are wonderful shades of purple, red and white, have the sharp silhouettes of hills and lakes in the foreground.
Mr Jones, from Rhyd-y-Clafdy, North Wales, said: ‘The photographs were taken at one of my favourite locations in Snowdonia, Llyn Y Dywarchen.
‘I’ve always been fascinated by the stars and night sky so I don’t mind taking my camera up a mountain in the evening.
‘I leave the shutter open and just sit in awe of it all.’
He added: ‘Anyone can see the Milky Way. You just need to head out somewhere dark, which is easier said than done for many people, and let your eyes adjust for ten minutes.
‘It appears as a dusty, cloud-line across the sky.
‘Through the centre of the Milky Way is a dark area, which one may mistake as being devoid of stars but it’s actually an area I believe is referred to as the Great Rift.
‘Light is unable to escape through a number of dark nebulae which are present there.’
Mr Jones heads to the park to take photos when his children, aged seven and ten, are asleep in bed.
His photos show clusters of stars in a starfield, or a star trail, which shows the movement of the earth through the sky.
He said: ‘I’ve always been fascinated by star trail images.
‘People think it shows the stars moving through the sky, whereas in reality what they display is the rotation of the earth, with the stars staying relatively stationary.’
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