HOW TO CAPTURE THE MILKY WAY/NORTHERN LIGHTS

 Congratulations on getting your NANO1 astronomy camera! Here is a quick guide on how to capture the Milky Way and Northern Lights.

To see the Milky Way or Norther Lights, you will need to make sure of these 3 things:

Location with Low Light Pollution
Places with too much light makes it harder to see the Milky Way as it isn’t very bright. You can look out for places with low light pollution using the Dark Site Finder Map. For the Northern Lights, it can be seen in areas such as Alaska, Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc.

Screenshot of the Light Pollution Map from  Dark Site Finder . Darker areas indicate darker sites, while red shows heavy light pollution.

Screenshot of the Light Pollution Map from Dark Site Finder. Darker areas indicate darker sites, while red shows heavy light pollution.

A Clear Sky
A cloudy sky will obstruct your view of the Milky Way. Check out the weather forecast of the area you are planning to go before heading out.

A weather forecasting site like Accuweather.com shows the cloud cover conditions.

A weather forecasting site like Accuweather.com shows the cloud cover conditions.

Avoid the Moon
The moon is actually pretty bright at night, and it will compete with the light coming from the Milky Way. You may like to find out which phase the moon is in to avoid a bright moon. It is better to see the Milky Way under a New Moon, where it is darkest.

The lunar calendar shows the moon phases and the dates. In this instance, 30 August 2019 would be best to see the stars as it is a new moon.

The lunar calendar shows the moon phases and the dates. In this instance, 30 August 2019 would be best to see the stars as it is a new moon.

When can you see the Milky Way?

The Milky Way can be seen as early as March till August. We recommend sometime between May and July for the best viewing experience.

When can you see the Northern Lights?

The most intense Northern lights can be seen from late August to mid April. Your chances of seeing the Northern Lights are higher from late September to late March.

What will you need?

To capture the Milky Way or Northern Lights, here are some equipment that we recommend that you bring:

  1. NANO1 astronomy camera

  2. 3-12mm F1.4 M12 lens or 2.8mm F1.4 M12 lens. A wide-angle lens with a large aperture will do as well.

  3. Tripod. A tripod is recommended to keep the camera steady throughout the capturing process.

  4. Apps to help you plan your Milky Way photos. Here are some that are highly recommended: The Photographer’s Ephemeris, Sun Surveyor, & Photo Pills

How to capture the Milky Way/Northern Lights

  1. Set your NANO1 astronomy camera on a tripod and point towards the Milky Way.

  2. Set the shutter speed to 30 or 60 seconds. Start with an ISO of 1600.

  3. Using the zoom button, zoom in to focus on the stars. Turn the focusing ring on the lens until the stars look sharp.

  4. Zoom back out to capture a wider view of the Milky Way.

  5. Press the shutter button and wait for the camera to capture.

  6. If the image appears too bright, lower the ISO.

  7. Do some processing with a photo editing app to bring out more details.