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5 January Astrophotography Targets to Photograph this Month

New year, new targets to image. It's January! Welcome to a new year and celebrate with more of our special monthly series of targets. You don't have to think about what to photograph tonight because we made a list for you. Even better, we have compiled beginner targets and challenging ones to tackle as well. Read on to learn which January astrophotography targets are ready for your first light of the year.

Best Astrophotography Targets for January

Below are 5 deep-sky objects that are at their highest elevation in January. If you don't see a popular object listed below, no cause for alarm! It is probably featured in a different month as this series progresses every month of the year. Most importantly, we want to avoid duplicates.

No matter the skill level you are, there is sure to be at least one January astrophotography target to pique your interest. The first three are easy objects, and the latter two are advanced for the more experienced amateur astrophotographers.

5 January astrophotography targets:


NGC 2244 - The Rosette Nebula

The Rosette Nebula is made up of several nebulous sections as well as an open cluster in the center. All have their own NGC numbers but the target as a whole is often designated as "NGC 2244."

The Rosette Nebula looks like a colorful flower floating in space. It is large, beautiful, and easy to capture for beginner astrophotographers. It is best photographed in winter and can be found in the constellation Monoceros, close to the famous Orion constellation.

You can easily photograph this object with any telescope/camera combination, and can also capture it using just a camera lens without too much trouble because of its size and brightness. Make sure to click on the image below to check out our high-definition image and much more information!

NGC 2244 The Rosette Nebula Astrophotography


NGC 2359 - Thor's Helmet Nebula

Antoine's favorite nebula: Thor's Helmet. Also known as NGC 2359 is also not far from the Orion constellation. It lies in Canis Major, a tiny bit South of the Rosette Nebula.

Thor's Helmet was our very first target captured with a monochrome camera after getting our ZWO ASI1600MM. It is a great narrowband target and you can get a really nice result using either all three narrowband filters or just doing a bicolor combination (HA+OIII).

NGC 2359 is not very large and isn't super bright either, so you might not want to attempt this with just a DSLR camera and a lens, but it is a relatively easy object through a telescope and the right filters.

NGC 2359 Thor's Helmet Astrophotography


NGC 1999

NGC 1999 is a bright nebula that is surrounded by dark dust, giving it a really unique look. It can be found in the constellation of the hunter: Orion.

NGC 1999 is "easy" for some people as it depends on the size of the telescope you have. Owners of high focal length instruments will be able to capture this object much easier than those who have a wide-field telescope. It is a little tricky to bring out the faint dark gas around the bright areas though, so be careful when you process your data as it is easy to blow out the bright part when trying to reveal the exterior gases.

Find out the different types of nebulae you can photograph on our nebulae resource page.

NGC 1999 by NASA



IC 443 - The Jellyfish Nebula

The Jellyfish Nebula is a strange-looking object in Gemini, very close to the Messier cluster M35.

IC 443 is very faint and difficult to capture. It is also challenging to frame because the "jellyfish" itself is bright and full of structure, but there is a lot of faint gas expanding in one specific direction.

When attempting this object, you will want to use a small wide telescope and use the image below to help yourself frame the object just right. The two bright stars (one of them being Propus) are helpful in centering the target with the live preview.

Click the image below for much more information and to watch a video showing how we captured this Jellyfish in the desert!

The Jellyfish Nebula Astrophotography


IC 2177 - The Seagull Nebula

The Seagull Nebula, or IC 2177, is a large emission nebula that lies just in between the two constellations Monoceros and Canis Major.

This is a fantastic target for small to medium size instruments, and we really love how the colors pop out in the Hubble Palette combination.

The Seagull Nebula also "touches" another nebulous object, designated NGC 2327 (visible as the orange/red blob on the upper left part of the object below).

There is also some very faint gas visible on each side of this target, and a few bright stars here and there. Enjoy this magnificent image of the Seagull Nebula below taken by Chuck's Astrophotography!

IC 2177 by Chuck Ayoub

IC 2177 Astrophotography Chuck


Final Thoughts

We hope this list inspired you and helped you find a target to photograph tonight. It can be hard to decide on one, so be sure to bookmark this page and come back to check off all the deep-sky objects we list. If you managed to capture one of these beautiful objects, make sure to show us your results in the comments section!

You can also see our top picks for 15 winter astrophotography targets if you want to see more great objects this season.

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

Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter





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.

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