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Newbie wanting to know how to find the optimal time for a photo of the milky way

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Hi, I have a plan to take a good photo of the Milky Way and a few general star shots and I'd love to hear the opinion of the people on this forum.

The plan...

Travel to Tenerife's volcano (Teide) https://goo.gl/maps/Kh9d9VmzBKx crater on a day when the moon and the sun are on the opposite side of the planet to me and when the Milky Way is at it's highest point. Camp in the crater and take the shots at some point during the night.

My reason's for this are:

1. Tenerife is very easy/cheap for me to get to from the UK. I know there must be better places in the world for astrophotography, but I'm going to Tenerife anyway so that's the place.

2. Tenerife is far away from main land so hopefully less light-pollution.

3. The top of the volcano is at 3,718m so the atmosphere is colder, hopefully helping with better photos.

4. The volcano crater will shelter me from light from the island.

5. There may be clouds under my location to bounce the local light back down

My main question is... is there a useful website or software to calculate the best time of year for my trip (when sun and moon are far on the other side of the planet and when the Milky Way is at it's highest at that location (28.272323, -16.642449). Also, can anyone see any problems with my plan or can anyone suggest improvements?

I'd love to hear people's opinions.


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Hi and welcome.  

Sounds like a great plan, and the milky way is certainly a fabulous target, and always keeps me totally captivated.

My imaging spot in Spain is only 700m up, and the skies are very very dark, so yours should be awesome.

Any of the free apps such as Cartes du ciel will give you the information you need.  You can just run the clock forward to when you want to go and see exactly what's going to be in the sky and where at that point.

It's nice when imaging the Milky Way to have a point of interest in the frame to give a perspective of scale.  There are some great informational web sites about imaging the Milky Way which are worth a look.

Good luck and look forward to seeing the results.

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RayD - Thanks for your advice. I've downloaded Cartes du ciel and I'm currently trying to get me head around how to use it :) Getting there slowly.

MarkyD - Thanks for your advice too. Those would be quite big issues! They've agreed to issue me an overnight camping permit so that shouldn't be an issue but I'll have to double check about getting access to the crater itself. Even if I can't enter the crater, I'm guessing it should still be fairly good on the peak.

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I'd suggest looking for a planning that will TELL you the time of various events - I cant help with app names as I can't remember, but someone mentioned today at work a 'planer' app that will let you enter things like a landmark and astronomical even and it will tell tyou where and when to be.

This guy used it to be in the right place in glance to catch the milky way vertically and centre at the peak over one of the Bens 

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iapa - The thought of an app that tells you where and when to be sounds perfect! Would love to find out the exact most optimal time for that location. I've had a little search for such an app and two that came up were "Observer Pro - Astronomy Planner" and "AstroPlanner" do either of these seem familiar?

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Just had a reply,

Planit for Android

Photopills for IOS

He says you DO need to read user manuals. Also some videos on youtube.

and this is where i bow out doing hot i hate - referring someone you youtube or google without reference points LOL!!

If I get the time later, I'll add some URLs.

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I have been to Tenerife several times and am going again in January. You do not have to go into the crater to escape light pollution. In fact you will get better views from the rim. The main advantage of going up the mountain is that you will be above the clouds. Just a couple of warnings. It is very cold at night on mount Teide and you have to be aware of personal security issues.

Any place away from the tourist resorts will present you with lovely views of the Milky Way given clear skies. You will certainly have a great time.

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