August 2013 Night Photography Events Calendar

Each month I post a monthly night photography events calendar on the first day of the month. Events listed on the calendar are suitable for wide-field and moderate-telephoto astrophotography using DSLR cameras, as well as for general night photography. The calendar does not include events or subjects that are more suited to telescopes or extreme telephoto lenses. Unless otherwise stated, all events occur in the United States at mid-latitudes. Most of the events also occur at other locations, although some of them may require correction for latitude and longitude.

If you sign up for my free Night Photography News eNewsletter, you’ll receive each calendar two weeks early, on the 15th of the preceeding month. This will give you more time to plan your night shooting.

Times are Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)

All month Bright Venus (magnitude -4.0) shines in the dusk sky to the west. It sets about 90 minutes after the sun, so it will be low on the horizon at all times. It will make a great complement to a twilight landscape scene.
All month Saturn is about one-third up in the southwestern sky at dusk during the first of the month and about half as high by the end of the month. It’s far dimmer than Venus, at  about mag 0.6, but still easily seen and it will show up well in photos.
All month Mars shines low in the east during dawn twilight. It is faint, at about magnitude 1.6, but it will show up well in photos taken before the sky brightens.
All month Jupiter shines in the east dawn sky. In early August, the planet is low on the horizon at dawn, but it rises higher each morning.  At magnitude -2.0, it is much brighter than Mars.
All month For observers in the southern and middle United States, the Milky Way shines high in the sky. This is a great time to photograph night-sky scenes of the Milky Way because it is highest in the sky and some of its brightest features are in full view for most of the night.
All month After being nearly absent for 3 months, Orion reappears in the morning sky. It is low on the east-southeastern horizon during twilight. It makes a great compliment to a wide-angle view of the crescent moon, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter on the mornings of the 2nd to the 5th.
First half Mercury shines very low on the horizon in the east-northeast dawn sky. Its brightness grows each morning from about magnitude  0.1 to about -1.0 . By mid-month it is no longer visible to the naked eye.
2 The crescent moon shines in the dawn sky, looking east. Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter lie to the lower left.
3 A thin crescent moon shines in the eastern dawn sky. Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter lie to the lower left.
4 A very thin crescent moon shines low on the horizon in the morning twilight sky, looking east. Mercury lies to the lower left, Mars to the upper left, and Jupiter directly above.
5 A sliver thin and faint crescent moon shines very low on the horizon in the morning twilight sky, looking east. Mercury lies close to the moon on the upper left, Mars is directly above and higher up, and Jupiter lies to the upper right of Mars.
6 New moon at 5:51pm. Don’t forget, the best time to shoot the stars (either as pinpoints or star trails) is when there is no light pollution from the moon.
8 A very thin and faint crescent moon shines low on the horizon in the dusk twilight sky, looking west. Venus lies to the upper left of the moon.
9 The thin crescent moon lies below Venus in the dusk twilight sky, looking west.
10 The crescent moon lies to the upper left of Venus in the dusk twilight sky, looking west.
11 A waxing crescent moon lies to the upper left of Venus in the dusk twilight sky, looking west-southwest. The moon is about halfway between Venus and Saturn. The star Spica, which is only slightly fainter than Saturn, lies between the moon and Saturn.
12 The nearly first quarter moon lies between Saturn and Spica in the dusk twilight sky, looking west-southwest.
11/12 12/13 The Perseid meteor shower occurs in the early morning hours of the 12th and 13th. The expected peak  is the afternoon of the 12th, so you can expect to see good numbers of meteors the night before and after. On average, you should see about one meteor per minute, but the rate could be more or less. The best viewing comes after midnight, when the shower’s radiant (the point from where the meteors appear to emerge) rises high in the sky. The moon sets at 10:51pm on the 11th and 11:29pm on the 12th, leaving the prime viewing times free of moonlight. Best viewing: Midnight to dawn on the 12th and midnight to dawn on the 13th.
14 First quarter moon at 6:57am.
20 Full moon at 9:45pm. Don’t forget, in addition to including the full moon as a complement to a landscape or urban scene, you can use the light from the full (or nearly full) moon to illuminate your scene.
28 Third quarter moon at 5:35am.
30-31 The zodiacal light may be visible in the east before sunrise from dark locations, although the waning crescent moon may interfere. See this blog post for more information.
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