Updated: Aug 4
Welcome to August! We are continuing our favorite Summer targets with five new fantastic astrophotography objects you can capture this month!
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.
Make sure to watch our video guide on YouTube for more information and a bit of fun!
Want more inspiration for Summer targets? Read our full guide about the 15 best Summer Astrophotography targets!
5 August Astrophotography targets:
NGC 7293 - The Helix Nebula
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 or 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 best imaged in August. It is relatively smaller than the Helix Nebula, but is so bright that is 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 on the upper right in our photo below. Yes, our framing was terrible).
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.
On our photo below (41 hours of exposure!), you can see Sadr near the center, and the Butterfly Nebula on the upper right area.
And that's it!
We hope this list will help you pick a target to photograph tonight. If you do image one of these beautiful objects, make sure to show us your results in the comments section!
You can read our pick for the TOP 15 Summer Astrophotography Targets if you want to see more great objects for this season.
GALACTIC HUNTER BOOKS
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!
Description: The Astrophotographer’s Journal is a portable notebook created for the purpose of recording observations, cataloguing photographs, and writing down the wonderful memories created by this hobby. This book contains more than 200 pages to memorialize your stargazing and imaging sessions, as well as a useful chart on the last pages to index exciting or important notes. Read back on the logs to see how much progress you have made through the months, the problems you overcame, and the notes taken to improve in the future. Just as the pioneers of astronomy did in their time, look up and take notes of your observations as you are the author of this star-filled journey.
Description: The Constellations Handbook is a logical guide to learning the 88 constellations. Learning the constellations is difficult. Remembering them is even harder. Have you ever wanted to look up to the night sky, name any pattern of stars and be able to tell their stories? This book groups the constellations in a logical order, so that the reader can easily learn them by their origin, and see how their stories interact with one another as a group. The last pages of this book include an index of all 88 constellations, each with a slot where you can write your own personal tips and tricks in order to memorize them with ease. The Constellations Handbook is not just another guide listing all the constellations from A to Z and their location, it is the perfect companion for stargazing, and a learning journey through the ages.