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Jojo204

Can you see the Milky Way with your eyes?

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Hi all,

bit of a weird/dumb question but I’ve always wondered if you can see the Milky Way with your eyes. When I was out getting Milky Way shots I just pointed my camera West and took a long exposure. But when I was aiming my camera I couldn’t actually see the Milky Way. So I was thinking, in a low light pollution area once your eyes adjust to the darkness, can you make out the faintest band of the Milky Way? 

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4 minutes ago, Jojo204 said:

Hi all,

bit of a weird/dumb question but I’ve always wondered if you can see the Milky Way with your eyes. When I was out getting Milky Way shots I just pointed my camera West and took a long exposure. But when I was aiming my camera I couldn’t actually see the Milky Way. So I was thinking, in a low light pollution area once your eyes adjust to the darkness, can you make out the faintest band of the Milky Way? 

If you drive somewhere out of town, where it is quite dark, you should easily see the MW even without your eyes adjusting to the dark. 

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Absolutely! I can see it easily in Bortle 3-4 conditions and lower. They say you can see it in Bortle 5, but I can't.

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1 minute ago, tooth_dr said:

If you drive somewhere out of town, where it is quite dark, you should easily see the MW even without your eyes adjusting to the dark. 

Ah ok! I’ll definitely do that in the spring/summer!

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1 minute ago, Buzzard75 said:

Absolutely! I can see it easily in Bortle 3-4 conditions and lower. They say you can see it in Bortle 5, but I can't.

Oh I live in Bortle 4! But I’ve never noticed it haha, I’ll adjust my eyes a bit and try see it!

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Depends, if the sky`s dark enough it should not be a problem. I Live in a rural location and in the summer its visible from the zenith towards the south,and, when the street lights go out......it  much easier to follow down. Des

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yes you can see the Milky Way with your eyes , you can even see the Andromeda galaxy with only your eyes.I can see it from my backyard (i live in a small village) ,but your eyes have to be adapted to the dark 40-1h in the dark and u can even see the double cluster C14 under Cassiopeia ,which is really close to Andromeda

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9 minutes ago, HEXZ0R said:

yes you can see the Milky Way with your eyes , you can even see the Andromeda galaxy with only your eyes.I can see it from my backyard (i live in a small village) ,but your eyes have to be adapted to the dark 40-1h in the dark and u can even see the double cluster C14 under Cassiopeia ,which is really close to Andromeda

Quite amazing the power of ones small eyes!

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1 hour ago, Jojo204 said:

Oh I live in Bortle 4! But I’ve never noticed it

Well, not spot on in Wells, according to this (orange colour means Bortle 5, IIRC), but close by - some nice dark sky areas to the N, W and S:

https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=10&lat=6658791&lon=-294510&layers=B0FFTFFFFFT

1 hour ago, Jojo204 said:

I’ll definitely do that in the spring/summer!

You don't have to wait until summer. The Winter Milky Way, extending from Cassiopeia over Perseus, Auriga and Gemini down to Monoceros and Canis Maior is less prominent, but still very noticeable from a dark place; give it a try (naked eye and with binoculars). and let us know!

Stephan

 

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22 minutes ago, Nyctimene said:

Well, not spot on in Wells, according to this (orange colour means Bortle 5, IIRC), but close by - some nice dark sky areas to the N, W and S:

https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=10&lat=6658791&lon=-294510&layers=B0FFTFFFFFT

You don't have to wait until summer. The Winter Milky Way, extending from Cassiopeia over Perseus, Auriga and Gemini down to Monoceros and Canis Maior is less prominent, but still very noticeable from a dark place; give it a try (naked eye and with binoculars). and let us know!

Stephan

 

I live a few miles outside wells that is classified as Bortle 4, and yes ok!

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I can see it naked eye from my back garden a lot of the time. It really depends on local conditions. 

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2 hours ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

I can see it naked eye from my back garden a lot of the time. It really depends on local conditions. 

That's how it is where I live Southeast of Tampa/St.Pete about 45 miles. 

I'm probably in a 3.5 to 4 Bortle, except for my neighbors flood lights. When it's right, the milky way stands out screaming look up at me.

But it's nothing like I remember as a child in the 60's.

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4 hours ago, Jojo204 said:

I’ve always wondered if you can see the Milky Way with your eyes.

Well the Greeks named it 'galaxy' because it looks like a stream of milk spilt across the sky. Find a really dark site and you will understand why!

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I can often see it and I am a mile from the city center, the new LED lamps every where help of course.

Alan

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Bortle 2-3 here in Mid Wales. Milky Way very obvious on a dark, clear night.

37340072024_2c20dff1a9_b.jpg

 

Edited by laser_jock99
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My back yard is around Bortle 5 and I can often see a reasonable portion of the milky way running through Cygnus and as far across the sky as Cassiopeia. M31 is also a regular naked eye target as well as the double cluster in Perseus.

 

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Daft question but how does one find the bortle value for a given area, looked on a site and shows me as being 32 something, is that good or bad?

Alan

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6 hours ago, tooth_dr said:

If you drive somewhere out of town, where it is quite dark, you should easily see the MW even without your eyes adjusting to the dark. 

Quite so.  I have no trouble seeing it from here without needing time for my eyes to adjust.  I'm at the darker end of Somerset though.  Wells is probably quite different.

James

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36 minutes ago, Alien 13 said:

Daft question but how does one find the bortle value for a given area, looked on a site and shows me as being 32 something, is that good or bad?

Alan

Bortle 32 wouldn’t be that great Alan 😂

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2 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

Bortle 32 wouldn’t be that great Alan 😂

Thats what the maps seem to suggest but I can see the Milky Way with my naked eye, my back garden is pitch black since they changed the lighting.

Alan

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5 minutes ago, Alien 13 said:

Thats what the maps seem to suggest but I can see the Milky Way with my naked eye, my back garden is pitch black since they changed the lighting.

Alan

The scale only goes up to 9 where 9=worst. You must be looking at another figure. 

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2 minutes ago, tooth_dr said:

The scale only goes up to 9 where 9=worst. You must be looking at another figure. 

The only site I could find was this....

https://www.nightblight.cpre.org.uk/maps/

The figure of 32 is Nano watts/cm (squared)/sr whatever that might be....

Alan

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My local astro club is located at a Bortle 5 site and the MW is visible on a good night. It's much more appreciative when you come from an urban area.

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Well I had a pretty clear night and went outside, after a few minutes I could already make out the Milky Way! How amazing from my very own backgarden! I’m really tempted to drive out of town to South West Somerset/Devon during the next clear night to enjoy this view even more. I spent a couple hours just stargazing it went so quick! I enjoyed looking at Cygnus and I had a fair sight of mars to the south! The ISS flyover was really cool as it was going pretty quick silently. I got my camera out for its second flyby but was too late and it went behind a house 😂🤦🏽‍♀️. Anyway I got a bit distracted and took some alright Milky Way shots. All gave me an awesome experience for my first time observing! Everything you see in pics seems fake until you see it in real life! AMAZING!

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1 hour ago, Alien 13 said:

The only site I could find was this....

https://www.nightblight.cpre.org.uk/maps/

The figure of 32 is Nano watts/cm (squared)/sr whatever that might be....

Alan

Download the clear outside app. That'll tell you your bortle scale figure. 

I live in a bortle 6 area and just a 10 minute walk from the town centre, but on the best of nights and "dark" adapted eyes I can just about make out the milky way. I've traveled to bortle 4 sites and had no problem seeing it even without dark adapted eyes. 

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