See the Milky Way at Mount Totumas Cloud Forest

Rainy season in the cloud forest does often have nights like the above….when the clouds that drift up from the Pacific dump their rains and recede in the late afternoon and early evening. On such nights with no moonlight the air at 6500 feet becomes crystal clear and the milky way can be seen like some of us may remember in our childhoods before light pollution filled our living spaces.

The International Dark Sky Association is dedicated to the issue of light pollution, bringing awareness to the public about what is lost when we fill our skies with artificial light.

Once a source of wonder–and one half of the entire planet’s natural environment—the star-filled nights of just a few years ago are vanishing in a yellow haze. Human-produced light pollution not only mars our view of the stars; poor lighting threatens astronomy, disrupts ecosystems, affects human circadian rhythms, and wastes energy to the tune of $2.2 billion per year in the U.S. alone.

Here in Western Panama we are fortunate to have minimal light pollution. The small town of Volcan is 20km away and has very few street lights. West of us are the Talamanca mountains of Costa Rica with no notable large towns. Mount Totumas Cloud Forest is off the grid up a valley that has no artificial lights and we border the immense La Amistad NP where the night truly dominates.

Here are a few more pics from earlier in August with no moonlight…

Taken with a Nikon D90, ISO set at 1600, 28 second exposure with aperature at 5.6

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