The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Dark Skies Around Tucson

I went up Mount Lemmon earlier this week to do some photography. I hiked out on Meadow Trail near the ski area. I took some night shots of the Milky Way and realized I had similar shots from Kitt Peak with the same camera and same settings I took earlier this summer which might make an interesting comparison of the sky conditions at each location.

I used my Canon Digitial Rebel Xti, 30 sec exposure, auto noise reduction and white balance, ISO1600. These are both jpegs that came out of the camera, not raw files so you can take that into consideration. Also, the one from Kitt Peak was taken looking east toward Tucson and the one from Mount Lemmon was taken looking south toward Tucson. The comparisons aren’t perfect, but here are the results.

First, from Kitt Peak (elevaation ~6900 feet).


Next, Mount Lemmon (elevation ~9000 feet).


Even though Mount Lemmon is a couple of thousand feet higher, Kitt Peak is farther from Tucson and the light dome is much lower on the sky compared to Mount Lemmon.

So there are my pics. I will admit that I didn’t set out to make a comparison of the two sites and I should try another set of pics shooting raw frames sometime. I might try to get to both sites to take more pics and take a Sky Quality Meter to both this spring during Globe at Night so that I can add some quantitative measurements to the pics!


September 19, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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