I recently took a few night shots of the Milky Way, but found that I kept getting this weird vertical glare and I don't know why. The below image shows it exaggerated by lights in the distance as well. Any help would be much appreciated.

strange lines

Update: I finally got to take a look at my lens and here's what I found:


That is probably the culprit. Bummer I won't get a chance to shoot the Milky Way agin soon. I'd really like to get that shot.

Thanks for the help!

  • Do you have a protective filter on the lens?
    – mattdm
    Oct 8, 2015 at 23:03
  • No filter, just an EM-5 with a 12mm lens
    – Ryan Clark
    Oct 9, 2015 at 17:56

3 Answers 3


Your front lens (or filter) is smudged in that direction , try to clean it dry,..

  • 1
    It could also be on the back element of the lens...
    – Michael C
    Oct 9, 2015 at 3:40
  • Did you try to clean it?
    – nacfoto
    Oct 9, 2015 at 14:26
  • I did not. I haven't yet had time to take a look, but this seems reasonable. I was in Mexico and it was humid so I had probably wiped the lens, but not cleaned it thoroughly.
    – Ryan Clark
    Oct 9, 2015 at 17:57

I've gotten the same thing after wiping off the front of the lens when not waiting long enough for a cool camera to warm up before removing it from my bag in a warm, humid environment.

example of moisture smeared across lens


It's definetly something about that we were discussing earlier, but possible on some inner lens element :(, try it with some other lens. ( :( because you can't do anything against that by yourself)

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