One of the reasons we planned our trip during the beginning of May was its timing around the new moon (No moon in the sky). Without the moon, we would be able to fully appreciate the dark skies of Arizona. You can't truly appreciate just how amazing the night sky looks until going to places like Arizona. Unfortunately, here on the east coast, city lights are everywhere. You have to travel very far, sometimes hours away from where you live to experience a truly dark sky. Stepping out of my home in Newark on a clear night, I can see 10, maybe 15 stars? In Arizona, simply driving 15-20 minutes outside of the city allows you to look up at thousands of stars. Going even further away from city lights to the Grand Canyon allows you to see the galactic plane of the Milky Way. The pictures below required a lot of planning, being up during hours you should be sleeping, and of course clear skies. Cloudy skies were present most of the trip. Luckily, some of the nights had some key breaks allowing me to capture these photos.
Grand Canyon - the first night of our trip, we left the hotel in Flagstaff at 1am and arrived at Mather Point at the Grand Canyon at 2:30am
Sedona - After spending the day in the Sedona, we stuck around after midnight to stargaze around Courthouse Butte. Shortly after arriving, clouds began to overtake the sky.
Humphrey's Peak - located directly North of Flagstaff lies Arizona's tallest mountain, Humphrey's Peak. On our last night in Arizona, I headed out around 1am to try to capture the Milky Way rising over the mountain. Again, cloudiness was present most of the night. Despite the obstructed skies, I was able to get some awesome shots of the mountain peak and the Milky Way rising over.
Vegas - after several nights under dark skies, we spent several nights in the total opposite environment under the lights of Sin City...