One of the great attributes of the Southwest U.S. away from the cities is the dark skies. A benefit of traveling at the end of the year is that it is darker longer. Our first night in Death Valley National Park had clear, desert sky, an early setting moon, and a Night Sky ranger talk. After the talk, another couple sat outside their car enjoying the Milky Way.
As the week went on, the moon got fuller and stayed up later making it more difficult to get the darkest sky images. However, the moonlight helped light up the red rocks of Zion National Park. The first image below is looking west with the Milky Way starting to appear. The next image is turned east with the moon and Venus showing through the remaining light from the setting sun.
A future blog post will have some images from one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen. Afterward, some stars started coming out. You can see the constellation Cassiopeia over the tree on the left. You want clouds for a fiery sunset, but not for star images.
The moonlight helps light the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon.
Just outside Bryce National Park is Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest. Your eyes’ night vision don’t pick up color very well, but the camera sensor captures the red rock in the moonlight.