The Search for Dark Skies

It has been an amazing year for my search for the Milky Way!  Even in the most rural of places, it’s hard to feel alone when meteors and distant thunderstorms can be seen, and my late night adventures this year have been anything but predictable.  I have traveled to the darkest areas in North Carolina and Virginia and to my favorite locations to create this year’s dark sky imagery.

Dark skies continue to be alluring to me.  A distinct feeling takes place when only in the presence of the the Milky Way.  The lack of houses, people, and sounds can make for a relaxing hour or two of star gazing, and it seems that almost every trip brings new surprises.  Many conditions have to come together to make for good viewing of stars.  Some of the factors that can decrease the relative brightness of the stars are: moonlight, city light, smaller lights (flash lights/street lights), atmospheric particles, humidity, and clouds.  My best advice is to try aim for a clear and moonless night, and stay overnight at a camping area away from cities and street lights. Use a moon phase website to keep track of upcoming dark nights.

Feel free to comment on the blog with any questions about the Milky Way or the photos.  I also hold workshops and personal lessons for astrophotography, and the info is on my website

Below is a gallery of some of my night images from 2017.  Click on the image to see where it was captured.  There are still a few months left and I have more images/video in mind!





2 thoughts on “The Search for Dark Skies

  1. I have often sought out dark skies only to find the full moon is out when I am in a normally dark location or it is unexpectedly cloudy. The best we did this year was at Arches National Park where we still had to contend with automobile headlights and a distant Grand Junction. But as you indicated, when one does find them, it is a very special thing in this modern age.
    I am also amazed at the photos you have made.

    1. I think at least attempting is the most important part. I have always wanted to go to Arches, I imagine it was beautiful being there at night! I sometime travel long distances to get to dark sky spots, I am appreciating the remaining darkness as much as possible!

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