As part of its 2013 proposal for International Dark Sky Park certification by the Mayland Community College Blue Ridge Observatory Star Park, in Spruce Pine, N.C., commercial photographer Todd Bush submitted a series of photographs depicting views from the site.
Left: One of Bush's "All-Sky Images," compositing shots from a Nikon DSLPR with an 8mm fisheye lens, rotated to all four compass points. Exposure time was 20 seconds.
"Views of the Milky Way from this site are simply stunning," wrote Bush. "[B]inocular and telescope views into this awesome sky-filling presence will find many objects to enjoy, from the tendrils of its fiery arms to the deep recesses of rich surrounding dark skies!"
The Blue Ridge Observatory Star Park was certified an International Dark-Sky Park in February 2014, becoming the first such park in the southeastern U.S.; the first operating under an institution of higher learning; and the first to maintain outdoor lighting consisting of fully-shielded, low-color-temperature LED fixtures.