A spectacular experience is just up the road. You can see the Milky Way from Tybee Island, GA, and it's only a 2.5-hour drive from Jacksonville. If you're a stargazer at heart but you live in the city, take a road trip to Tybee Island and see the galaxy.
Tybee Island, located outside Savannah, GA, is an excellent spot for stargazing, offering crisp views of the night sky. The island attracts tourists and photographers alike in the hopes of spotting stars, planets, and even the galaxy.
Jamie Anderson, a lifelong photographer who has captured incredible photos of the Milky Way, credited Tybee Island's stunning views to the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.
"Research groups, e.g. the Caretta Research Project, found out that the Loggerhead Sea Turtles would not come up and build their egg nests with a lot of bright lights on the beach," said Anderson in an email. "So, an ordinance was passed to reduce the amount of light on the beaches."
When the ordinance passed, the city welcomed back not only the turtles but also the stars. Now, the night sky dazzles over Tybee Island, unencumbered by harsh porch lights and street lamps. Even the Milky Way looms overhead on the darkest nights.
Anderson has captured spectacular photos of the galaxy at Tybee Island, despite the unique challenges that astrophotography poses. The biggest one is light, but another is knowing when and where to look.
"You also need to know a little astronomy to figure out when the Milky Way will be up because it rises and sets like the other stars and planets..." Anderson told Narcity. "Generally, Summer [sic] months work best."
This holds true for naked-eye viewing as well. To see the core of the galaxy, according to Dark Site Finder, head to a spot away from city lights between midnight and dawn on a clear night. Let your eyes adjust to the dark. Then, look up. You may see a faint stretch of dust and stars crossing the sky. This is the Milky Way.
For Anderson, the stars represent something larger than himself.
"One thing the night sky conveys to me is how small and insignificant our world is. Our whole solar system with all our planets is no larger than any one of the stars in the Milky Way..." he shared. "To me, its beauty conveys the presence and glory of a creator, God."
Regardless of your beliefs, seeing the dusty, sparkling galaxy with your own eyes is something you'll likely never forget. And the next time you see it at Tybee Island, thank the turtles.
For stargazing in the sunshine state, read about the best places to go stargazing in Florida and this state park in Florida where you can see the Milky Way.
The Milky Way at Tybee Island
When: Best in the summer months
Address: Tybee Island, GA
Why You Need To Go: If you're in North Florida, this little island in Georgia is worth a visit. You'll have a spectacular view of the stars and you may even spot the galaxy.
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