I want to shoot the Milky Way, some constellations, and planets. I want to include some natural landscapes in these photos, similar to these:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/35492781@N08/4665431960/in/faves-blakeperdue/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/digitallion/3824172978/in/faves-blakeperdue/

I want to plan the composition of some shots in advance given my limited time on location. Given a specific date/time and your GPS coordinates or city location, what tools are available to tell you where the Milky Way, planets and constellations will be in the sky?


1 Answer 1


Stellarium is great tool for showing astronomical bodies. And its free! Set your location, change your light pollution parameters and go!

Check on the light pollution for potential sites with this Google Earth overlay - just have Google Earth installed first and double clicking the downloaded file should work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Stellarium is awesome. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – bperdue
    Apr 25, 2011 at 19:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you know of the data source for the artificial light overlay? I ask because I'm interested in getting data for Australia rather than the USA. \$\endgroup\$
    – fmark
    May 17, 2011 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fmark - sorry I don't. I thought I remembered seeing a worldwide one, but I can't find it now. \$\endgroup\$
    – rfusca
    May 17, 2011 at 17:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ No worries. I'll report back here if I track one down. \$\endgroup\$
    – fmark
    May 17, 2011 at 17:04

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