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5 October Astrophotography Targets to Photograph this Month

Updated: May 30, 2023

The spookiest month of the year is here! Welcome to October! We have compiled a frightfully fun list of deep-sky objects for astrophotographers to check off this month. This post is one of many entries in our special monthly series which you can find on our tutorials page. Now, sneak a peek at our October astrophotography targets below.

Best Astrophotography Targets for August

Below are 5 deep sky objects that are at their highest elevation in October. We have fun lists like this one for all months of year, so if you don't see a target that you might expect for this month it is probably in another list! Each one is different with no duplicates making for a fun challenge all year long.

As with our other posts, we have a total of five objects. The first three are easier to photograph, but the last two are more difficult - but that's why it's scary good fun!

5 October astrophotography targets:


M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy

The Andromeda Galaxy is the largest and closest popular galaxy in the night sky. This object is often the one that makes people fall in love with astronomy when observed through binoculars or a telescope!

Messier 31 is bright and very easy to photograph with even a very cheap DSLR camera. It can be captured with and without a telescope and even without any tracking device. Make sure to click on the link below to see several of our images of M31 in high definition.

If you wish, you can also use an HA filter to get some of the Hydrogen Alpha data in the galaxy's spiral arms, which will make your image even more impressive!

Watch Episode 4 of Galactic Hunter to see us photograph the Andromeda Galaxy with a DSLR camera.

M31 The Andromeda Galaxy Astrophotography


M33 - The Triangulum Galaxy

Messier 33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, lies close to M31 and is another large and bright galaxy. It is the second largest apparent galaxy in the northern hemisphere and is once again very easy to capture with and without a telescope.

Both of these galaxies stay very high in the sky for several months, so no need to rush in order to capture them!

M33 also has Hydrogen Alpha in its arms, and some of its immense nebulae are even visible from Earth! Learn more by clicking on the link below.

Messier 33 the Triangulum Galaxy Astrophotography


NGC 1499 - The California Nebula

This was our very first object imaged from our new house in 2020! The California Nebula is a large emission nebula full of Hydrogen Alpha, so we definitely recommend the use of either a DSLR Clip-On HA filter or a narrowband filter like the TRIAD Ultra.

If using one of these filters, you can easily capture this nebula from any light-polluted area. The image below was taken from a Bortle 9 zone on a full moon night! Visit our full blog post about the California Nebula to watch the full video.

The California Nebula Astrophotography


Simeis 147

The three first targets in this list were extremely easy to photograph, but this is a different story! Despite being larger than the other objects, Simeis 147 is very faint and can only be captured in narrowband.

A Hydrogen Alpha filter is what you will want to use the most if you wish to attempt the Spaghetti Nebula. It is recommended to use a regular RGB palette for the background and stars, from a very dark zone as there are some interstellar dust lanes going on here and there.

Simeis 147 by Rogelio Bernal Andreo

The Spaghetti Nebula Astrophotography


M74 - The Phantom Galaxy

Messier 74 is the second faintest object in the entire Messier Catalog and is nicknamed the Phantom Galaxy.

This is a relatively small spiral galaxy in the constellation Pisces and can be difficult to process if you don't have enough data on it. We spent 3 hours and 30 minutes on this target from a Bortle 4 zone and we felt like it was just enough to get an okay image.

You can watch image M74 in Episode 11 of Galactic Hunter.

The Sadr Region and butterfly Nebula Astrophotography


Final Thoughts

These were a good mix of easy and challenging ideas for October astrophotography targets. We hope you appreciated the spooky option. Don't be afraid to come back to this page to get your next idea. We have a list for each month, so check out November and the other months.

Be sure to review our list of the 15 best fall astrophotography targets too! It's great to have a choice of targets, and you can view our other seasonal astrophotography lists.

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

Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter