Updated: May 30
The weather is hot but the sky is full of incredible deep-sky objects during this time of year. It must be August. Astrophotographers everywhere take caution and stay hydrated. Instead of wasting time out on the field deciding on what to image - use our suggestions! As part of our special monthly series, we gathered August astrophotography targets for you. Check them out below!
Below you will find 5 deep sky objects that are at their highest elevation in August. If you don't see a popular object listed below, don't worry! It is most likely featured in a different month as we are doing this guide for every month of the year and are making sure we avoid duplicates.
In order to make sure you find some inspiration no matter your skill level, we will go over three easy objects and will add two more difficult targets for the more experienced amateur astrophotographers at the end.
Watch our video guide on YouTube for more information
Need more summer targets? Read the 15 best summer astrophotography targets!
5 August Astrophotography targets:
Messier 27 - The Dumbbell Nebula
NGC 6960 & NGC 6992 - The Eastern & Western Veil Nebulae
NGC 7000 - The North America Nebula
IC 1318 - The Sadr Region
The Helix Nebula, also called the Eye of God or Eye of Sauron, is a beautiful and large planetary nebula in the constellation Aquarius.
This object is really bright and does not require lots of exposure time for you to get a great result. NGC 7293 also looks great in both regular RGB and narrowband.
If you are imaging from the United States, know that the Helix Nebula does not rise very high from most locations, so try to capture it as soon as it is available!
Messier 27 is another nice planetary nebula that is best imaged in August. It is relatively smaller than the Helix Nebula but is so bright that it is among the easiest targets to capture for beginner astrophotographers.
Located in the small constellation of Vulpecula, M27 can be photographed with just a stock DSLR camera, or in narrowband using a monochrome camera. If you plan on imaging this object, aim to have enough integration time to reveal the red "X" shape in the dumbbell. This is easier achieved with a Hydrogen Alpha filter but easily attainable with an unmodified DSLR camera as well.
NGC 6960 & NGC 6992
NGC 6960 (the Western Veil) and NGC 6992 (the Eastern Veil) are part of the Veil Nebula complex or Cygnus Loop. If you'd like an extra challenge, try to also capture NGC 6974 (Pickering's Triangle) which is also part of the complex and lies approximately in between the Eastern and Western Veil nebulae.
These targets are great for both stock DSLR camera owners who shoot in RGB, but also in bicolor narrowband if using a cooled monochrome camera with Ha and OIII filters.
The North America Nebula is an area in Cygnus that is full of bright gas! A small telescope is great to capture the entire "North America" shape, while a larger instrument can be used to get a good look at the famous Cygnus wall.
You may also want to capture the Pelican Nebula, which lies right next to the North America Nebula (the Pelican Nebula can be seen in the upper center in our photo below.
Probably our favorite area of the sky, IC 1318 is an extremely busy part of Cygnus with so much going on! To find it, look for the bright star Sadr, and take a few test shots until framing the object(s) the way you want it.
In our photo below (41 hours of exposure!), you can see Sadr near the center, and the Butterfly Nebula on the upper right area.
Did you enjoy these August astrophotography targets? We hope our suggestions were a good mix of easy and difficult targets. Be sure to see our other special monthly lists for astrophotography. See September and other months.
Find more targets this season in our 15 best summer astrophotography targets. You might see some familiar targets, but we're sure that you will find one that you haven't gotten before. Take a look at next season's targets as well by checking out our seasonal lists.
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Description: Discover 60 Deep Sky Objects that will considerably improve your Imaging and Processing skills! Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced astrophotographer, this detailed book of the best deep-sky objects will serve as a personal guide for years to come! Discover which star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are the easiest and most impressive to photograph for each season. Learn how to find each object in the night sky, and read our recommendations on imaging them in a quick and comprehensive way. Each target in this guide contains our advice on imaging, photos of expected results, and a useful information table. We've also included a few cool facts about each target, a map to find it in the night sky, and more!
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