Best Dates & Times for Milky Way Photography in New Jersey in 2022

Photo Credit: JT Shimer

Peak Milky Way season is almost upon us here in the Garden State!

Here are the BEST dates and times when the Milky Way and the galactic center will be visible for the longest in the sky.

  • May 25 through June 2 – Late May and early June bring a stretch of time where the Milky Way is visible all night with no moon influence. You can begin to see it around 10 PM looking East South East.
  • June 21 through June 30 – The Milky Way is near-vertical this time of year, rising in the southern sky. Although it rises earlier in the evening, around sunset, the ability to photograph it begins around 10pm.
  • July 24 through August 1 – The timing is good, as the new moon is in the middle of the week allowing perfect opportunities on the weekends on either side. Again, around 10pm is the best time to start shooting with the core setting around 3am.
  • August 21 through August 30 – A good time to shoot but note it sets around midnight so the window of opportunity is shorter
     

Information Provided by Dennis Maida Photography

Days for maximum visibility peak from mid-April through August. Lucky for us, those are usually the warmer nights in New Jersey!

See the East Coast Milky Way times chart from Capture the Atlas below. It features days when the Milky Way is visible for only a short time, moon rise and moon set times, galactic center arch position, and more.c

Here are some tips for shooting the Milky Way from our veteran photographers if you’re starting out or if you need a refresher.

Be Prepared!

Sometimes we say your gear doesn’t matter, but in this case, it might be best to come prepared.

Using an app like PhotoPills can help you plan your shot perfectly, and bringing gear like a tripod and dressing warm can ensure your night goes as planned.

Don’t Forget To Bring Your Tripod!
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Great 1st Tripod
$79.99$72.99
Pros:
  • Lightweight for Travel
  • Ball-head can rotate 360°
  • Detachable Monopod Option
  • 2-Year Warranty
Best Design
$379.95$341.96
Pros:
  • Compact, Travel Size
  • Holds Up To 20lbs
  • Quick Release for Camera
  • Weather Resistant
Ultimate Tripod
$649.95$584.96
Pros:
  • Lightweight Carbon Design
  • 20lb Weight Capacity
  • Built-In Mobile Phone Mount
  • Fits In Backpack Side Pocket
12/08/2022 12:29 pm GMT
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Your Camera Settings Are Super Important

There’s a formula to calculate your maximum exposure time to avoid showing motion — something very important when shooting Milky Way photography.

500/(Your Focal Length x Crop Factor of Camera) = Maximum Exposure Time.

If you’re unsure of your crop factor, here it is:

  • Full frame sensors have a crop factor of 1x
  • Crop sensors have crop factors of 1.5x or 1.6x (Depending on make and model)

For more on how to get the best Milky Way pictures, check out the latest from Mike.

Get The 2022 Milky Way Calendar

Choosing Location for Milky Way Photos

Obviously, you have to shoot at night. Those times above will give you the best shot at getting, well, the best shot.

But areas near cities will give you nothing but light pollution, so try and pick a spot in North or South Jersey in the mountains or at the beach away from civilization.

You can see tons of stars on a clear night in Ocean City or Long Beach Island.

Stars, the Milky Way, and even planets are able to be seen in areas with VERY low light pollution, and on nights when a new moon has just started. Check out part one of our astrophotography guide for more.

Our map has plenty of places to try out if you’re just starting. If you have a new addition (that you want to share with the world) let us know!

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