June 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.

For me, June is not an ideal month for night photography. For one thing, the nights are very short. Indeed, the shortest night of the year occurs on the summer solstice of June 21. And the nights are warm, which increases the problem of noise. Although July and August also share these drawbacks, during those months at least the summer Milky Way shines high and bright all night long. Also, July has fireworks and August has the Perseids.

With that said, June has its rewards. A big advantage for many people is that the nights are plenty warm enough to be comfortable, so you don’t have to lug a lot of extra clothing. For me, one of the most exciting night photography events of the year occurs during June—fireflies! I know it might be hard for some to get excited about a flashing beetle and some of you live in regions where they don’t even exist. But there aren’t many things in the dark that get my juices flowing much more than lightning bugs, as we call them in the South.

Here’s a blog post I made last June about photographing fireflies.

All month Jupiter is the brightest object in the night sky after the Moon and Venus, shining at about magnitude -1.8. It is in western twilight sky at dusk. At the first of the month, it sets about 3 hours after the Sun and by the end of the month it sets only an hour after sunset.
All month Mars is visible from dusk until around mid-morning for most of the month. At sunset on June 1, it shines high in the South and sets in the West by mid- morning. On June 30, it is South-Southeast at sunset and sets in the West shortly after midnight. It dims from magnitude -0.5 to 0.0 by month’s end.
All month Saturn is visible for most of the night. After sunset, look for it toward the South about 35-degrees high. It sets in late morning to the West. It is fainter than Mars, shining at about magnitude +0.3.  
All month Venus is the brilliant “morning star,” shining at about magnitude -3.9, 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 For much of the eastern U.S., June is the peak flashing period for many species of firefly, although many fireflies are active during July and August as well. For the southern Appalachians, where I reside, the first half of June is probably the best time during the year to photograph fireflies.
All month The Milky Way ramps up its summer show. At the first of the month it lies low on the southern horizon as night falls, but by the end of the month it is fairly high after sunset. As the night progresses, it stands higher and moves westward.
Second half The Pleiades shine close to Venus in the dawn sky. At the middle of the month, the star cluster lies to the left of Venus and by the end of the month it shines directly above the planet.
1 A  thin Crescent Moon shines low on the horizon in dusk twilight sky, looking West-Northwest. Jupiter shines close to the lower right of the Moon, while faint Mercury shines low on the horizon to the lower right of Jupiter.
2 The Crescent Moon shines low on the horizon in dusk twilight sky, looking West-Northwest. Jupiter shines to the lower right of the Moon, while faint Mercury shines low on the horizon to the lower right of Jupiter.
5 First Quarter Moon at 4:40pm.
13 Full Moon at 12:12am. 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.
19 Third Quarter Moon at 2:39pm.
21 Summer solstice begins at 6:51am. The night of June 20/21 is the shortest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter begins in the Southern Hemisphere.
21 The Crescent Moon shines in the dawn sky, looking East. Venus shines to the lower left of the Moon.
22 The Crescent Moon shines in the dawn sky, looking East-Northeast. Venus shines to the lower left of the Moon.
23 A  thin Crescent Moon shines in the dawn sky, looking East-Northeast. Venus shines to the lower left of the Moon.
24 Venus and a very thin Crescent Moon rise side by side about 2 hours before sunrise in the East-Northeast. This will be a spectacular scene in the dawn twilight sky.
25 A sliver thin Crescent Moon shines very low on the east-northeast dawn horizon. Venus shines to the upper right of the Moon. The Moon rises only 63 minutes before sunrise and is only 2.8 percent illuminated. It will be very hard to see.
27 New Moon at 4:09am. 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.
29 A sliver thin Crescent Moon shines very low on the horizon in dusk twilight sky, looking West. Jupiter shines very close to the Moon, to the lower right.
30 A very thin Crescent Moon shines low on the horizon in dusk twilight sky, looking West. Jupiter shines to the lower right of the Moon.
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