Light pollution is a big problem for star photography. It can reduce the number of visible objects in the sky markedly. Not only do street lights mess up your chances, but also a bright moon creates a lot of light and creates a big problem. What a bother. I guess the other element is the weather. You can’t see stars through thick cloud. Night after night I go out with my camera and find it’s no good. Is it all down to chance? No – not at all. We can measure light pollution and predict its time and location. We can forecast the weather, well I guess we can get it sort of right in the short term. The forecast is really not too bad for the next 7 to 10 days..
Have a look at the following map. The scale from dark grey to bright red depicts increasing light pollution. At the top of the page is an enlargement for the Adelaide area. It looks like the closest dark location to my home in Aldgate is either Cape Jervis or Clayton Bay / Milang. I was able to find this map (and indeed one for the whole world) on the internet at this location.
The Moon and weather.
Now the moon rises and sets at different times each night. Also a full moon is a bigger problem than a crescent moon. So how do I predict the next night without much moon? I have an App on my phone called Exsate Golden hour that tells me just that. For instance it tells me that the moon is currently 69% (gibbous) and increasing (waxing) and will not set until 1.56am. Unfortunately the forecast is for rain at this hour. So there is not much point waiting up.
The next new moon will be the first of October, 3 weeks away. From the 17th of September however the moon rise will be after sunset and so I might get a few weeks where I can get my star shots before going to bed.
So there you have it. All organised – I can probably go for a trip to Milang on the 20th of September to get the sunset at 6.10pm, the twilight until around 7.30 and then about 2 and a half hours of star photos before the moon rise at 10pm. All I need to do is to wait for the weather forecast.
Hope you find this information useful.