Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Welcome to July! Here comes another very hot month especially here in Vegas! Let's go over some deep sky objects you can attempt to photograph tonight. Find out five of our favorite astrophotography targets for July in the post below.
Below you will find 5 deep sky objects that are at their highest elevation in July. 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 July Astrophotography targets:
Messier 16 - The Eagle Nebula
Messier 8 & Messier 20 - The Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae
Messier 57 - The Ring Nebula
NGC 6888 - The Crescent Nebula
IC 1396 - The Elephant's Trunk Nebula
The Eagle Nebula is one of the most popular targets for astrophotography in Summer. It lies in the Milky Way band not far from other great nebulae.
M16 looks great in both wide field astrophotography and using any size of telescope. Small instruments will reveal an enormous amount of gas in the entire field of view, while larger instruments can focus on the Pillars of Creation, made famous by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995.
We imaged this target in Episode 14 of Galactic Hunter!
Messier 8 & Messier 20
We decided to add both Messier 8 and Messier 20 as a single entry for this post because of how close they are to one another. Using a small telescope like we did in Episode 13, you'll have no problem making both fit in the same image. These two nebulae are bright, large, and look fantastic in RGB as well as in narrowband.
We imaged these objects in Episode 13 of Galactic Hunter!
The Ring Nebula is a small but very bright planetary nebula in the constellation Lyra. A small telescope is not the best fit for this object, but it is not impossible to get a beautiful image even with smaller instruments. We captured it with our Orion 8" Astrograph and stock DSLR camera several years ago. The Ring Nebula is a great RGB target although it does have quite a lot of Hydrogen Alpha as well.
We imaged M57 in Episode 2 of Galactic Hunter!
The Crescent Nebula (you can call it the "brain" nebula if you prefer) is not that difficult to capture, but the faint gas all around it is. Located in Cygnus, NGC 6888 also has a tiny faint companion, the Soap Bubble Nebula (can you spot it in our image below?) which is barely visible even with long exposures.
The Crescent Nebula is also an amazing wide field target because it lies in the Sadr Region, an area of the sky full of hydrogen gas.
The Elephant's Trunk Nebula can be photographed both wide-field or from up close. Both options will give you a totally different image!
Located in Cepheus, 2,400 light-years away from Earth, IC 1396 contains a lot of hydrogen alpha gas that is sure to please owners of narrowband filters. It is at its highest in the sky in July but can be photographed all Summer long.
We have not yet captured IC 1396 ourselves but will update this post when we do!
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.