The more I read about the milky way, and the night sky in general, the more I’m coming to the realization that I’m just in the wrong part of the damn world to get one of those Insane Milky-Way shots.

At my latitude, during the winter months when the sky actually gets dark enough to see it in all its glory, the best part of the milky way never rises above the horizon. In the middle of summer the best part will just peak above the southern horizon, but there’s too much ambient light remaining from the sun (we don’t get a true astronomical dusk during summer months here) That it’s also impossible to view against a dark enough sky.

Somewhat saddening to realize that because of this, I have never even seen the center of the milky-way with my own eyes, even though I at 28 years old have already spent more time staring at the night sky than most folks ever will in their entire life time.

I will try to explain this. The light band that we can see at night IS STILL THE MILKY WAY, actually almost every star we see is situated in the milky way. However, during our winter months here high up in the Northern Hemisphere at night we are looking out towards the edge of the Milky-Way, just one spiral arm and then deep space for infinity. During the daytime we would be looking in the right direction, towards the center of the milky way, but the sun obviously is in our way. To see the milky way in all it’s glory one has to be near the equator or even better, in the Southern Hemisphere. During our summer, or the southern hemispheres winter, the earth in on the opposite side of the sun and so when they look off into space they’re looking into the center of the milky-way, not just the outskirts that we see here.

With all this being said, I’m still going to get out as much as I can and practice shooting the night.  We still do have a chance at catching a faint glimpse of the inside of the milky way here in the spring and autumn, even thought it will never rise to only slightly above the horizon. I don’t think I’m a good enough night time photographer to justify traveling south next summer just to photograph the sky, and I’m definitely too poor to do it just because, but one day.

Lance Edwards-Hampton



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