July 2014 Night Photography Events Calendar

Each month I post a monthly night photography events calendar on the first day of the month. Events listed on this calendar are suitable for wide-field and moderate-telephoto astrophotography, as well as for general night photography. 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. The position of the Moon relative to the planets and stars changes throughout the night. Generally, when a position is given, it is for the period about 45 minutes after sunset or 45 minutes before sunrise. Do not confuse the times of the Moon phases for the times of Moonrise and Moonset. Consult local charts for rise and set times.

July nights are very short and very warm, so there is less time for night photography and we have increased problems with noise (noise is greater in warm temps). However, July offers two very good opportunities for night photographers. The brightest part of the Milky Way shines all night long and, for those in the United States, Independence Day gives us fireworks to shoot.

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.

All month Mars and Saturn shine about halfway up from the horizon in the evening sky, looking South-Southwest after sunset. They sink toward the west-southwest horizon and set around midnight. Mars lies to the lower right of Saturn and dims from magnitude 0.0 to 0.4 through the month, while Saturn dims from 0.4 to 0.5.
All month Venus is the brilliant “morning star,” shining at about magnitude -3.8, making is easily the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon. It shines low in the dawn twilight sky to the East-Northeast.
All month The Pleiades shine in the dawn sky, looking East. At the first of the month, the star cluster lies about 25° high about an hour before sunrise and by the end of the month it shines about 35° high.
All month The Milky Way shines brightly. After dusk twilight, look for it toward the South, angling up to the left and arching to the North. As it moves toward the west during the night, its angle rises higher. In the middle of the night, it stands nearly vertical to the South-Southwest and arches to the North-Northeast. At the start of dawn twilight it shines at a high angle from the West to the East.
Second half Mercury shines to the lower left of Venus in the dawn sky, looking East-Northeast. It brightens from about magnitude 0.25 to -1.4.
1 The thin Crescent Moon shines in dusk twilight sky, looking West.
2 The Crescent Moon shines in dusk twilight sky, looking West.
4 Independence Day for the United States. Cities and towns across the country will have fireworks displays beginning at dark. Check out this Digital After Dark blog post for tips on photographing fireworks.
5 The half-full Moon and Mars lie very close together about an hour after sunset, looking Southwest about 35° high.
5 First Quarter Moon at 7:59am.
7 The waxing gibbous Moon and Saturn lie very close together about an hour after sunset, looking South about 40° high.
12 Full Moon at 7:25am. 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.
18 Third Quarter Moon at 10:09pm.
21 The Crescent Moon shines high above Venus and Mercury in the dawn sky, looking East.
22 The Crescent Moon shines in the dawn sky, looking East. Venus shines to the lower left of the Moon, while Mercury lies to the lower left of Venus. The star Aldebaran shines very close to the Moon.
23 The thin Crescent Moon shines in the dawn sky, looking East. Venus shines to the lower left of the Moon, while Mercury lies to the lower left of Venus.
24 Venus and a very thin Crescent Moon rise side by side about 2 hours before sunrise in the East-Northeast. Mercury shines to the lower left.
25 A sliver-thin Crescent Moon shines very low on the dawn horizon, looking east-northeast. Venus shines directly above the Moon and Mercury is to the upper left. The Moon rises only  63 minutes before sunrise and is only 1.6 percent illuminated. It will be very difficult to see.
26 New Moon at 6:42pm. Don’t forget, the best time to shoot the stars (as either pinpoints or star trails) is when there is no light pollution from the moon.
28 A very thin Crescent Moon shines very low on the horizon in dusk twilight sky, looking West. The Moon sets only 47 minutes after sunset and will be difficult to see.
29 A thin Crescent Moon shines low on the horizon in dusk twilight sky, looking West.
30 The Crescent Moon shines in dusk twilight sky, looking West.
30 The Alpha Capricornid and Southern Delta Aquarid meteor showers peak this morning. Neither shower produces very many meteors, but the strong Perseids coming up on August 13 will start building up in late July and will contribute to the numbers.
31 The Crescent Moon shines in dusk twilight sky, looking West.
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