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Dark Sky Photography Info

Below are a few different resources you can use to locate your following location for your dark sky photography adventure. The essential part of doing Milky Way photography is finding the darkest skies, so it is visible. See the dark sky map below. The darker the skies, the more you will see the Milky Way in your image.   The week before the new moon, the moon rises very late, or should we say early the following day, so the moon is not out, and this is when you want to do your milky way photography.

When to See the Milky Way

The months of November, December, and January are not ideal for views of the best part of the Milky Way. The best part goes below the horizon and will not reappear until about March’s very early morning hours. The best viewing time in the Northern hemisphere is in the summer. Hot, humid, or stormy nights make for less ideal conditions and the nights are shorter, but there is still ample opportunity to get it and get it right. A planisphere tool can help locate and determine when the dense part of the Milky Way will be visible.

During April and May, you see the milky way in the pre-dawn hours, and by June, it rises about 10:30 and will be visible almost all night. From Mid August through September, the best time is soon after the sun has set, and the sky has grown dark about an hour after the sun goes below the horizon.


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Certified International Dark Sky Parks

Natural Bridges National Monument – Utah, USA
Cherry Springs State Park –  Pennsylvania, USA
Galloway Forest Park –  Scotland, UK
Zselic National Landscape Protection Area – Hungary
Goldendale Observatory Park – Washington, USA
Clayton Lake State Park – New Mexico, USA
Hortobagy National Park – Hungary
Observatory Park – Ohio, USA
The Headlands – Michigan, USA
Big Bend National Park – Texas, USA 2012
Death Valley National Park – California, USA 2013
Chaco Culture National Historical Park – New Mexico, USA 2013

Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water Forest Park – Northumberland, England
Eifel International Dark Sky Park – North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 2014 Provisional
Mayland Community College Blue Ridge Observatory and Star Park

North Carolina, – Parashant International Night Sky Province – Arizona, USA 2014
Hovenweep National Monument – Utah-Colorado, USA 2014
Copper Breaks State Park – Texas, USA 2014
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area – Texas, USA 2014
Oracle State Park – Arizona, USA 2014
Weber County North Fork Park – Utah, USA 2015
Capitol Reef National Park – Utah, USA 2015

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Star Party and Event Finder

This is a great tool to find a Party or Event at any location. Click on a location and see what’s going on out there on the next new moon or at any time.  Find a Star Party or Event here.  Sorry, the link is broken. We have to find you a new Event Finder.

Dark Skies, Milky Way

Click here to go to the Dark Sky Finder Map.  The first part of doing night sky or milky way photography is to find a dark location. These types of maps are all a little slow but you definitely will find your spot using this.

Dark Skies, Milky Way

Click here to go to the International Dark-Sky Places Map.

International Dark-Sky Parks

Flagstaff Arizona – Kaibab Paiute IDSC – Flagstaff IDSC
An International Dark Sky Community in Arizona, USA, was established in 2001.
Arizona – Kaibab Paiute IDSC – An International Dark-Sky Community in Arizona, USA, was established in 2015.

California – An International Dark Sky Community in California, USA, was established in 2009.

Sedona Arizona – Sedona IDSC – An International Dark Sky Community in Arizona, USA, established in 2014.
Colorado – Westcliffe / Silver Cliff IDSC – An International Dark Sky Community in Colorado, USA, established in 2015. http://www.wetmtndarkskies.org/

International Dark-Sky Parks continued.

Quebec Canada – A Silver-tier International Dark Sky Reserve in Quebec, Canada, established in 2008.

Indiana – Beverly Shores IDSC -An International Dark Sky Community in Indiana, USA, established in 2014.
An International Dark Sky Community in Illinois, USA, was established in 2011.  http://darksky.org/night-sky-conservation
Homer Glen, IL – Westcliffe / Silver Cliff IDSC  -An International Dark Sky Community in Colorado, USA, established in 2015.
Flagstaff Arizona – Kaibab Paiute IDSC – Flagstaff IDSC
An International Dark Sky Community in Arizona, USA, was established in 2001.

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The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains our Solar System. The descriptive “milky” is derived from the appearance from Earth of the galaxy – a band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that the naked eye cannot individually distinguish. The term Milky Way is a translation of the Latin via lactea, from the Greek γαλαξίας κύκλος (galaxías kýklos, “milky circle”). From Earth, the Milky Way appears as a band because its disk-shaped structure is viewed from within. Galileo Galilei first resolved the band of light into individual stars with his telescope in 1610. Until the early 1920s, most astronomers thought that the Milky Way contained all the stars in the Universe.[28] Following the 1920 Great Debate between the astronomers Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis,[29] observations by Edwin Hubble showed that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies.

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