Cherry Springs State Park Photography
Cherry Springs State Park is a dark sky park with little light pollution. This makes it an ideal place to take photographs of the night sky – something amateur stargazers and professional astronomers enjoy. This article will provide tips on making the most of your visit to Cherry Springs State Park and getting some great photos of the Milky Way.
Cherry Springs State Park is one of the best places in the world to photograph the Milky Way. The park is in a dark sky reserve, meaning minimal light pollution. The dark skies make it the perfect place to create stunning Milky Way photos.
Remember a few things when photographing the Milky Way. First, you’ll need a DSLR camera with a wide-angle lens. Second, you’ll need to find a spot with a clear sky view. Following these tips, you can create some fantastic Milky Way photos at Cherry Springs State Park.
When To Go Milky Way Hunting
Understanding when the best time to go is before taking your trip is imperative if you want to see the Milky Way. The best time to photograph the Milky Way is during the summer when the constellation is visible in the Northern Hemisphere. June through October are the optimum times to go.
The dark-sky field at Cherry Springs is open all year. About 60 to 85 nights a year are ideal for doing milky way photography. The basic principle of doing Milky Way sky photography is to go when the moon is not visible. The week before the new moon, with clear skies, is an ideal time to go. You can shoot about a week before the new moon since the moon does not rise until very late, or should we say early a.m. Check out the moonrise times and see our dark sky resources page for the new moon chart. Remember, pick the correct month for optimum milky way visibility. After October, the milky way goes below the horizon and returns around February or March, but most humans aren’t awake for hours.
The Core of the Milky Way
In mid-February, the core of the milky way becomes visible in the pre-dawn hours before sunrise. It is only visible for a short time. It will be above the horizon during the day when you can’t see it. Of course, not the time to go hunting. The core becomes visible for a longer time frame each night. It peaks in June & July when the center will be viewable all night. We see the milky way in June shortly after sunset, and the skies go black. The best time is just after the sun goes down in the mid-summer. After this, the cycle goes in the opposite direction. Milky Way visibility begins to decrease and go in the opposite direction, becoming more and more visible after dusk. It will then disappear again in the winter months. Around the beginning of November, it is no longer viewable.
Understanding when the best time to go is before taking your trip is imperative if you want to see the Milky Way. The best time to photograph the Milky Way is during the summer when the constellation is visible in the Northern Hemisphere. June through October are the optimum times unless you are okay with going during most people’s sleeping times in March, April, and May.
Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania Dark Skies
Astronomers and stargazers appreciate Cherry Springs State Park for the darkness and clarity of its skies, which make it “perhaps the last best refuge of the natural night sky” in the eastern half of the United States. The sky at Cherry Springs has been classified as a two on the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale, meaning it has almost no light pollution. With optimum conditions, 10,000 stars are visible with the naked eye at the park, clouds appear only as black holes in the starry sky, and the Milky Way is so bright that it casts a discernible shadow.
The walls of two of the park’s three astronomy domes prevent the wind from moving telescopes during observation. Nighttime visitors may only use flashlights with red filters and may only point them at the ground. The Astronomy Field has further light restrictions, and parts of the park are light-free zones. The DCNR spent $396,000 in June 2007 to buy mineral rights under 1,980 acres (800 ha) of the park and state forest to prevent natural gas drilling and associated development.