Are there any websites which map light pollution levels so I know where to go for decent long exposure night shots? Or general resources for that matter?

  • It's easy. Just search for "low light pollution map" in a search engine of your choice and you will get a lot of good results. – Hugo Jan 29 '14 at 14:32

I would start at the International Dark Sky Association. They have detailed maps for North America and also a link to the Blue Marble Navigator for the rest of the world. Although a little older, I find these maps of North America more readable.


Your distance from light pollution is very important when capturing any night shots including auroras. I would recommend using the Dark Sky Finder (USA only) and trying to be at a minimum darkness of the blue areas of the map. This means that almost the entire eastern United States is not a great place to photograph auroras! You could still do it, but it just won't be optimal with all of the light pollution. The lights only occur from about 50-400 miles above the earth's surface, so light pollution isn't quite as impactful as star photography, but it still plays a role.

Another option to assess light pollution is the Blue Marble Navigator, which works worldwide.

If you are interested in auroras in particular check out my previous answer here: What tips and advice do you have for photographing the Aurora Borealis?

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