How To Know Where & When The Milky Way Will Appear

How To Know Where & When The Milky Way Will Appear

I get asked fairly often how I'm able to anticipate or predict when the Milky Way and other celestial objects will be in position in the skies above for my photography.  In that direction, I wanted to share that I use a combination of knowledge and software tools to help boost that knowledge and understanding.

In looking back in history, it wasn't that long ago that I asked myself the same questions.  I was following some other excellent night photographers where it suddenly hit me that these guys were definitely not guessing - they knew what to expect before heading out in the darkness.  So I started doing some research to see what pc-based tools I could find - mostly from the astronomy side of photography.

Option #1 - Stellarium
Shortly after starting the hunt, I found a free software application called Stellarium (from which helped to wet my appetite.  Considering the price (did I say it was free?), it's hard not to recommend that people at least take a look at this option...