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How do I See the Milky Way
Although the Milky Way is always up there in the sky, it's very difficult to see a lot of the time.
The further north you live exacerbates this problem and above 65 degrees the Milky Way is pretty much invisible! Luckily, Coll isn't that far north and for us the Milky Way appears strongest in the low southern sky.
The Milky Way is most visible, in Scotland, from April to September. However, around mid-summer the night skies are just to light and the Milky Way is, once again, hidden from view.
It takes your eyes 15 to 20 minutes to see their best in the dark. Looking at any bright light source will diminish the view. Leaving a well-lit house, even after driving with the headlights on, will make the Milky Way far less visible.
Best Times To Spot the Milky Way
|MONTH||BEST TIME||MOON PHASE*|
|February||Difficult. Before sunrise (late February only)||3Q to New|
|March||Difficult. Before sunrise||New to 1Q|
|April||4am to Sunrise||New to 1Q|
|May||3am to 6am (early May only)||New to 1Q|
|June||IMPOSSIBLE - too light||-|
|July||IMPOSSIBLE - too light||-|
|August||Sunset until 10pm||3Q to New|
|September||Sunset until 9pm||3Q to New|
|October||Difficult: Sunset (early October only)||3Q to New|
*1Q means first quarter moon (half full). In its first quarter the moon rises around noon and sets near midnight. 2Q is a Full moon. Nearly full is called a Gibbous. It is nearly impossible to see the Milky Way when the moon is near full. 3Q is the third quarter (also half full) moon which rises near midnight and sets near noon. New means the moon rises and sets very near the sun. Includes a slender crescent phase, too.