Summer has bid farewell (well, not quite if you’re in Spain; it’s still shorts weather!), and the Milky Way’s core has slipped below the horizon for the next six months in the Northern Hemisphere. But for night sky photographers, there’s no need to pack up and wait for next year.
The upcoming months offer a treasure trove of opportunities to capture stunning celestial scenes. In this video, night sky photographer Jeroen Linnenkamp from StarScaper explores seven exciting night sky photography ideas. And there’s not a Milky Way core in sight!
Linnenkamp tells us that there’s far more to the night sky than the Milky Way, and he offers the following ideas to try out.
The Great Rift Region of the Milky Way
Situated right above the Milky Way’s core, the Great Rift region may not be as bright, but it boasts a distinct charm. Its dark dust lane adds a unique contrast that makes it an underrated gem to photograph. You can capture it from September to November in the southwestern skies.
As winter approaches, the mighty Orion constellation rises in prominence. With its recognizable star pattern, it’s a favourite among night sky enthusiasts. Orion will grace the night sky for the next six months, starting early in the morning and rising earlier in the evening as we near winter.
The Cygnus Region of the Milky Way
Located above the Great Rift region, the Cygnus region, though less defined, offers its own bright and beautiful H Alpha nebulae. Even a non-modified camera can capture its wonders. The Cygnus region is ideal for wide-angle and deep-scape photography and can be best captured from November to January.
As the colder months arrive, so do meteor showers. The Geminids meteor shower in late December is particularly exciting, and it coincides with a new moon, providing optimal conditions for meteor photography.
The Pleiades Star Cluster
This open star cluster rises in prominence during the winter months, making it a classic subject for night sky photographers. Use wide-angle and deeper lenses to capture its beauty, providing a unique twist to your nightscapes.
Winter Milky Way Arch
A less bright but equally captivating part of the Milky Way, the Winter Milky Way Arch stretches from the north to the south, including stars like Orion and even the Andromeda galaxy. It’s a challenge that rewards patience and processing skills.
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
The sun is getting more active, and the chances of seeing the mesmerizing Northern Lights are on the rise. Even in locations as far south as Slovenia and Switzerland, you might catch a glimpse of this stunning natural phenomenon. If you’re in the Nordic regions, your chances are even better.
There’s no need to stay indoors during the Winter. Just make sure you dress appropriately and use your common sense when it comes to being out in the dark. Don’t forget that it gets dark much earlier, too, so you can get your photography in and still get lots of sleep. What’s not to like?