Author Topic: What darkness level to see Milky Way?  (Read 450 times)

tanktositsoft

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What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« on: December 29, 2017, 12:19:38 AM »
I'm living in a bright red zone in Atlanta. We're planning a trip to a "dark" zone but even that will only be a yellow, not blue or green.

So my wife was wondering, how dark a zone do you need to see the Milky Way with the naked eye?



Chris Smale

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 09:06:31 AM »
I'm in the blue and it's really easy so I'd suggest at least that to really enjoy it in all It's glory.

inovilmei

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 01:01:25 AM »
The club dark(er) site for the Ohio astronomy club I belong to is in a bright yellow area of the dark site finder map. That is, in the brighter yellow color of the scale, the one closest to orange and furthest from green. The Milky Way is visible from that site, not super bright but you can make out the great rift, scutum cloud, and some other of the more obvious features. This is on a completely moonless night after end of astronomical twilight.

So I think you should have a good shot at seeing the Milky Way from your yellow site on a moonless night. Keep in mind if there is a light dome located at the horizon where Sagittarius is currently located, then that might mess things up. It will be site-specific as to what you can (or cannot) see, as you are at the limit of Milky Way visibility.

Good luck,

Bryce Roberts

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 12:06:37 AM »
Probably the yellow light pollution zone when the milky way is on the zenith but you'd only see it high up not across the sky,the red zone would be futile there you'll only see planets and bright stars and m45 would be the only naked eye messier object.

selusmiystag

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 03:52:49 PM »
I live in Acworth, just N.E. of Atlanta.. I can't see the milky way from my backyard on any night so far.. Red-Zone. Can hardly see any stars if I look South towards Atlanta. Looking North, isn't too bad though.I recently visited Blue Ridge GA, out near Mineral Bluff in a Green Zone, had no problem at all seeing the Milky Stuff!It was very nice to see it again, had 3 nights of great skies, and the first cool temps of the season!

guisamcipen

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 12:44:42 PM »
To see the brightest portion of the Milky Way, towards the galactic center, you need to head south of Atlanta so you have as little light pollution to the south as possible.
South of Thomaston or Manchester, GA would be good.
Like a park, or local cemetery, inWoodland (not Woodbury) or Talbotton.

Praveen Mac

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 06:58:56 PM »
What is the 'Milky Way?'
joe
NJ near Phila.
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ceusesugua

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2018, 02:38:38 AM »
A green zone will allow you to see the Milky Way but it won't be all that spectacular. I recommend finding a blue zone or better (Bortle 2 or 3).

James Etrheim

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2018, 05:38:12 AM »
I barely managed to see it in a yellow zone, Stellafane is a dark yellow/green zone, and it's spectacular there.

nepaletha

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2018, 08:36:29 PM »
I can see parts of it from my back yard in a red zone. It has to be a very good transparent night and I can just make out a 5 magnitude star at the zenith.

I use cleardarksky.com to get an observing forecast for night. They use a 1-5 chart and tonight is calling for a 5/5, but only a 2/5 for seeing, so not good for the planets. With the moon out, it will wash out some of the sky around it. Besides the moon, I'll take advantage of the transparency and target star clusters.

isveheartle

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 02:18:20 AM »
I live in what I figure is a yellow-green zone, and I can see the Milky Way quite well from my house... The dark rift, the brighter star clouds, and a pleasing amount of detail. I CAN'T find low surface brightness galaxies from my house anymore. Of course, the darker the site you can go to, the better the view.
 Marty

Randal Samuels

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2018, 04:11:48 AM »
In a Yellow I can see it but it is not awe inspiring.
In an Orange area the best I find is that you can tell there is something not so dark behind Cygnus, Cassiopeia etc but that is about it. Forget detail.
Will say that at the local level you might find a location that is darker then the general indication.

However my frst good sight of the MW was from what is displayed on the map as a Yellow zone. Which I find questionable as the night I went and looked I literally could not see the ground under my feet. So not overly sure of the darkness levels given.

So at one Yellow it was spectacular and at the Yellow I use now it is visible but not outstanding.

Suspect that for anything useful, memoriable, you are going to need a green zone.

chibamaham

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2018, 04:58:33 AM »
I mainly stargazing in yellow and green zones and I find the milky way is certainly visible in the yellow through Cygnus reaching down towards Sagittarius. The green is better, sadly I have to travel quite far,and stay overnight, to reach a blue or black zone.from the red zone,ie/in large cities, the light pollution tends to be even on the zenith and the night sky a washed out grey although I think maybe you get a hint of the milky way right up top?large urban parks are the best if you live in red zones or out to sea or large lakes.there's a marked difference between the sky out to sea and that over the sea side city you just have to hope what you want to view is in that direction!

Miguel Alvarado

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2018, 07:26:30 AM »
You can eke it out in red zone. Orange zone is a lot easier. I am in an orange zone. Another poste also pointed out the need for transparency. Cooler drier nights are much better for this. Now is a good time since Cygnus ("Northern Cross") is nearly overhead.

Gary Allen

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Re: What darkness level to see Milky Way?
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2018, 02:21:23 PM »
As I have noted on this forum several times when questions like this one arose, in all honesty there is simply detecting or seeing some trace or hint of the Milky Way at zenith, or even across a portion of the sky...and then there is actually "seeing" it. Anyone you has not been to a Dark Sky Scale class 1 or 2 rated location can never appreciate what the Milky Way truly looks like. Those that have seen it from such dark sites will thereafter tend to regard what others claim to have been good views of the Milky Way from zone of yellow and brighter as simply a joke.

Until you have experienced the view from a location where the Milky Way casts distinct faint shadows; where the western arm of the Great Rift extends far out across Ophiuchus and the galactic bulge fills most of Libra and eastern Hercules or in the north spurs off dramatically into central Cepheus; where when one views the Sagittarius region with ordinary binoculars and the appearance here and there is like looking at veined marble, I'm afraid that you haven't really "seen" the Milky Way.

BrooksObs