We are super excited to offer Milky Way Achievement Points as a way to let others know that you are a dedicated Milky Way Photographer. We’ve assembled a range of point categories – based on time, foreground subject, and photographic technique. A complete list of achievements is below.

How It Works

Here’s how you collect your achievement points:

  1. Sign in to your Member Account. Look for the “Sign in / Join” link in the upper left of any site page.
  2. Upload the photos you want to use for your achievements by posting them into your user Member Gallery.
    • Only upload JPG, GIF, or PNG images. Please make sure they are LESS than 2MB in size and have a maximum dimension of 2000 pixels wide and 1000 pixels tall.
  3. Follow these instructions if you’ve not uploaded any photos yet.
    • From your Member area, find the “Gallery” link on the right side of the options bar. If you don’t see it, look for “More” and click on that. It should drop down, and you should see “Gallery” in there.
    • From your Gallery page, create a Gallery or select one you previously made.
    • Under the Gallery name, there is an option to “upload.” Click on it to upload new photos.
    • When you do that, it opens a page where you can browse for your file or drag and drop.
  4. Once you have your photos uploaded to your gallery, comment on each photograph stating which point you want to apply to that image.
  5. Only one point will be awarded for each image. That means you need to use a little strategy to how you want to apply your points.
  6. Send Kirk Keyes a message listing the images you want to be reviewed.
  7. Please allow a few days for your points to be awarded.

Game the System!

Since you can only get one point awarded for each image, you might want to use a little strategy to how you want to apply your points.

Say you have a photo of the Milky Way from January 2020 with a rocky foreground on the edge of a lake and you tracked and stacked the image too. You could use it for the January 2020, Rocky Foreground, Water Foreground, Tracked Milky Way, and Stacked Milky Way.

You probably want to apply for the January 2020 point, as you can’t go back in time to shot another photo that month. But you most likely you can take another image with rocks, a lake, that’s stacked, or tracked. You can even go back to the same location and take another photo from the same place and use it for the other points. But you’ll never be able to shoot again in January 2020.

So plan out your strategy to get your maximum points!

Here are All the Achievements:

  • Monthly Achievements –
    • Capture the Milky Way during any month of the year.
    • The Milky Way Galactic Core does not need to be Visible.
    • Currently available for 2019 and 2020.
  • Season Bonus Points –
    • There are a total of four seasonal achievements for getting all the months in a season:
      • Winter – January, February, March
      • Spring – April, May, June
      • Summer – July August, September
      • Fall – October, November, December
  • Yearly Bonus Points –
    • An additional achievement for getting all the months in a single year. This one will take some planning, so best of luck!
      • Available for 2019, 2020.
  • Foreground Achievements –
    • These require a Milky Way in a single image along with a foreground subject. Something like the Milky Way with a source of Water, a Desert scene, a Chasm like Horseshoe bend, etc.
      • Rocky Foreground
      • Water Foreground
      • Trees Foreground
      • Plant/Flower Foreground – Feature a plant or flower in your foreground. Light paint it or compose the shot around them to qualify. It can’t just be any random plant in the image.
      • Desert Foreground
      • Manmade Foreground
      • Chasm Foreground – Capture the Milky Way OVER a chasm like an overlook at Dead Horse Point, Grand Canyon, Goosenecks, Horseshoe Bend.
      • Canyon Walls Foreground – Captured from inside the trench of a chasm, gorge, or canyon. Something like a Milky Way from the Narrows, base of the Grand Canyon, inside the Wedge Overlook.
      • Mountains – A Milky Way photo that was taken either from a mountain or one with mountains in the foreground.
      • Light-Polluted Skies Foreground
      • Reflection Foreground
      • Selfie/Human Foreground
      • Abandoned Foreground
      • Lighthouse Foreground – A structure with a powerful light that gives a continuous or intermittent signal to navigators.
      • Astronomical Observatory Foreground – Optical and Radio Telescope Observatories count.
      • Meteor and Milky Way – Make sure it’s a meteor, airplanes or satellites don’t count!
  • Technique Achievements –
    • These Achievements showcase your camera and or processing methods.
      • Light Painted / Low-Level Lighting – Subject can be anything as long as you used lighting to illuminated the foreground subject. Found or natural lighting does not count.
      • Time Lapse – submit a link to where your time-lapse is posted. YouTube works well for posting.
      • Moving Time Lapse – There is camera motion during the time lapse. It either pans on a tripod, or it travels on a slider during the time lapse. Submit a link to where your time-lapse is posted. YouTube works well for posting.
      • Panorama Milky Way – Two or more frames are combined to create an image wider than a single frame. Can be vertical or horizontal.
      • Stacked Milky Way – Two or more frames are combined to create an image.
      • Tracked Milky Way – Photo created using a Star Tracker.
      • Time Blended Milky Way – Where images are combined from the same camera location but taken under different times of the day. You might use the blue hour to show off your foreground.

We’ll update the list as we find new and exciting subjects that are points worthy! Occasionally, we will make QUESTS that are time sensitive – for instance, when a comet is visible with the Milky Way, like with Comet 47p Wirtanen in December 2018.

Contact us to EARN Your Achievement

So when you have your image posted in your Member Account, and you commented with the achievement you want, then send a PM to let Kirk, so he knows that you have it ready to go.

Kirk Keyes

Here's where you PM us.
Here’s where you can find how to PM us.

Then can message something like, “Hey, please check out my image X and see if it counts for Achievement X.”

If it passes our super high-tech vetting system of looking at it, then you get your achievement!

What About the Stickers?

Some of the designs we’re working on for the Milky Way Achievement stickers.

These are still being designed and made.

As soon as they are final, we will get the stickers made. Then we’ll start sending them off to those who have earned them!

Which Achievements Get Stickers?

ALL OF THEM, Eventually! Yeah. It will cost me a small fortune if the site gets popular enough but why not? These are really cool. But we think the expense is worth it to make it fun for you all. So jump in with us and earn your Master Milky Way Rank!

If you’re worried about the cost, please don’t! It is fun for us too! We are excited to do this!

Join us as a Patron over at Patreon.com/PhotogAdventures or toss a donation to us through our PayPal donation link in the sidebar or here:

paypal donate

Contact Us

If you ever need help with the site, please contact Kirk@PhotogAdventures.com or Aaron@PhotogAdventures.com!

Our Introductory Video

This video is our introduction to MilkyWayPhotographers.com for our PhotogAdventures.com YouTube audience. Watch it and see how you can get credit for your Milky Way Photography Achievements!

Thank you so much for joining us here at MilkyWayPhotographers.com!

Have fun and don’t miss this month’s Milky Way!

Aaron King


  1. You list time-lapse as an achievement, but “movie” files are not listed as valid file upload types to the gallery

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