Clear Dark Sky: Accurate Cloud Cover and Visibility Forecasts for Photogs


The website Clear Dark Sky has been mentioned in a few tutorials posted here on PetaPixel, but if you’ve never heard of this incredible weather resource for photographers you’re in for a real treat.

Clear Dark Sky is a weather reference tool built for astronomers but used extensively by photographers. It does exactly what its name suggests: it predicts sky conditions for a given location at a given time. Look up the spot where you’d like to photograph the night sky (either by keyword or by typing in the coordinates) and you’ll be greeted by a chart that looks like this:


This chart shows you how much cloud cover there is (the darker the color, the clearer the sky), how much light you’re getting from the moon (Darkness), and even how water vapor in the air (Transparency) and air turbulence (Seeing) will affect your ability to resolve detail in the sky—all broken down into blocks by time.

But the site doesn’t stop with this info. There are a bunch of extra tools at your disposal like a light pollution map, sun and moon data, and a star map. And if you click on any of the colored blocks in your chart, a full map will pop up showing you the expected conditions at that time, overlaid onto the location.

Clear Dark Sky should be a part of every diligent night sky photographer’s location scouting and preparation workflow. Check it out for yourself here.