Astrophotography with the, part 1 – Sun & Moon

Taking a picture of mountains with sunset or moonrise in the background is a nice experience. Some of the photographers used to do this accidentally when travelling. People, who know the area better usually can predict exactly what time the Sun or Moon will rise & set above the outlined mountain communities or closer peaks.

There are a few websites, that allow you to check the local ephemera of sunrise & sunset and moonrise & moonset with a rough azimuth. That information is very helpful when you are planning to take a photo of this phenomenon with a nice view of the foreground.
I have listed all the servers, that I already know:
1. (Pic. 1) Korczyna

Pic. 1

2. (Pic. 2). Czarnorzeki

Pic. 2

3. The Photographer’s Ephemeris (Pic. 3)

The photographer efermeris Czarnorzeki

Pic. 3 The Photographer Ephemeris.

All websites listed above can help you to adjust your viewing site to the local astronomical circumstances and chase the sunrise & sunset in conjunction with a nice mountain-toothed horizon. Moreover, you can check the ephemera throughout the day also.
Why is advisable to use then? is the newest panorama generator, that offers a very detailed description of the horizon. The basic objective of this website is to gather and provide the names of all peaks around the world! The base contains around 350k mountains! This is amazing! The server cooperates with, where the names of all peaks come from.

Is not only one panorama generator obviously. Recently I have described another one for you: to make multiple-summit panoramas. There is also another, very similar to the current one, made by Ulrich Deuschle (Pic. 4), where the database contains also many names of summits. has an undeniable advantage, which is the daily track of the Sun and Moon across the sky (Pic. 5).

Urlich Deutschle panorama generator

Pic. 4 The Ulrich Deuschle panorama generator. Beskid Niski

Pic. 5 The with all named summits and daily Sun & Moon track across the sky visible.

The main essence, that I decided to come through this website is chasing the sunrise & sunset or moonrise & moonset above the beautiful mountainous horizon. Now with, this is very simple.
You should care about 6 options, that offer this panorama generator (Pic. 6). These are the most important options for you to navigate and set your viewing site. key features

Pic. 6 The most important options: 1 – Digital binocular mode, 2 – Rulers, 3 – Solar orbit, 4 – Lunar orbit, 5 – Zoom in/out, 6 – Date/time.

You can find 4 options in your main toolbar on the top. Bear in mind, that they have been switched on (blue colour rather than grey). The exception to this is the binocular mode, which is needed only when you want to check what are the summits on your narrow line of sight. It may be helpful when your viewshed is really wide. The binocular mode also allows you to rapidly change the observation site (Pic. 7) when setting your point finder on some summit roughly and clicking on the human icon (bottom right). Binocular mode towards Bieszczady

Pic. 7 The “Digital binoculars” mode with one of the summits selected (highlighted by a bigger orange spot) and the option to move there right now (human icon).

The most important option for our purpose is the time & date and zoom-in & out options. You can adjust the time to the moment, that you are interested in. Zooming in to the maximum you gain as many details as you can using this website (Pic. 8). features sunset above Beskid Niski

Pic. 8 The most important options in use. The area has been zoomed into maximum value: 1 – time & date options, that are to be changed, 2 – Local sunset time, 3 – Sun orbit across the sky, 4 – Moon orbit across the sky, and 5 – Local moonset time.

I would like to point out to you the exact azimuth of the sunset & moonset, which is also marked with a dotted black vertical line (Pic. 8).
I put all my considerations on the viewing place, which is located in Dynowskie Foothills (Czarnorzeki). This place is very familiar to me. I used to go there and watch remote mountain communities. You can change your observation site when filling up the field or click the magnifying glass in the top left corner. You also have other options to find your place there (Pic. 9). searching option

Pic. 9 Searching options in the panorama generator. You have the choice of the following: “Maps”, “Peak directory” and  “Enter coordinates”.

Personally, for me, the easiest way to set up my new viewing site is using the “Maps” option (Pic. 10), where I can find my location directly. map searching option

Pic. 10 The “Maps” searching option in the panorama generator: 1 – The name of the summit, which you can put into the bracket when you know, 2 – The “Goto” button, which redirects you to a new position immediately, 3 – The crosshair, that in the middle shows your location target.

Now I am done. This is all, that you can do when using this panorama generator. Using the panorama generator is a really straightforward issue.
Back to my location, this is one of many places in the Subcarpathian region (south-east Poland), where you can spot the highest community of the Carpathian Mountains – the Tatras. Once the weather is favourable the group of high pinnacles is looming from the southwest. In the late autumn mid-winter season, you can try to see the sunset above the Tatras. It looks amazing! See the image below, which shows what is the earliest and the latest day in winter, when you can see it (Pic. 11). sunset aboce Tatra Mts seen from Czarnorzeki

Pic. 11 The sunset dates above Tatras to be seen from Czarnorzeki and also moonset on 18.01.2018.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t occasion to see a sunset or moonset above Tatra mountains, but I saw a lot of live examples from another part of the Subcarpathian region. I would like to show you some of them below:

Tatry z Niewodnej Piotr Gawron zachód Słońca

Pic. 12 Sunset above the High Tatras seen from Niewodna on 25th December 2017 (Piotr Gawron).

2018-01-06 Tatry Michał Skiba, Czudec zachód Słońca

Pic. 13 Sunset above the High Tatras seen from Czudec on 6th January 2018 (Michał Skiba).

2018-01-06 Tatry Witold Ochał, Szkodna zachód Słońca

Pic. 14 Sunset above the High Tatras seen from Szkodna on 6th January 2018 (Witold Ochał,

2018-01-15 Matysówka, Tatry, Michał Skiba, zachód Słońca

Pic. 15 Sunset above the High Tatras seen from Matysówka on 15th January 2018 (Michał Skiba).

2018-01-18 Tatry znad Magdalenki (Maciej Magierski) zachód Słońca

Pic. 16 Sunset above the High Tatras seen from the hill above Magdalenka on 18th January 2018 (Maciej Magierski).

What about other locations? I personally would love to see the sunset of the Teide Volcano on the Canary Islands (Pic. 17).

Teide sunset

Pic.17 Estimated sunset above Teide as seen from the Lanzarote island

Montana de Femes at Lanzarotte seen in Google Earth

Pic. 18 The Montana de Femes location on Google Earth.

Moonsets above high mountains are also amazing! (Pic. 19). However, they may be much harder to chase, because the Moon changes declination very quickly unlike to Sun, which inches day by day through some part of the horizon and gives you more days to chase proper weather.

Moonset Mara Leite Photography

Pic. 19 Moonset above high mountains (Mara Leite).

I hope, that this panorama generator will help you to set the best viewing site for an amazing sunset or sunrise.

Mariusz Krukar

1. Suncalc
2. Mooncalc
3. The Photographer’s Ephemeris
4. The Peakfinder panorama generator
5. The Heywhatsthat summit visibility cloak generator
6. The Urlich Deuschle panorama generator 

See also:

1. Creating multi-summit panoramas in









You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *