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5 August Astrophotography Targets to Photograph this month!

Updated: May 30, 2023

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!

Best Astrophotography Targets for August

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.

5 August Astrophotography targets:

  1. NGC 7293 - The Helix Nebula

  2. Messier 27 - The Dumbbell Nebula

  3. NGC 6960 & NGC 6992 - The Eastern & Western Veil Nebulae

  4. NGC 7000 - The North America Nebula

  5. IC 1318 - The Sadr Region


NGC 7293

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!

The Helix Nebula Astrophotography


Messier 27

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.

Messier 27 the Dumbbell Nebula Astrophotography


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 Veil Nebula Astrophotography


NGC 7000

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.

The North America Nebula Astrophotography


IC 1318

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.

The Sadr Region and butterfly Nebula Astrophotography


Final Thoughts

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.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to stay up to date with our work!

Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter





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