May 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 Jupiter shines in the evening twilight sky in the west-northwest. It sinks a little lower each evening.
Last half Mercury shines low on the horizon in the evening twilight in the west-northwest. It should become visible around the 20th.
Last half Venus appears in the evening twilight in the west-northwest sky, low on the horizon. It rises a little higher each evening. You’ll probably be able to see it very low on the horizon during the first half of the month, but it will set before it gets dark enough for it to show up brightly.
Last half Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury all shine together in the dusk twilight sky in the west-northwest. Venus is the brighter of the trio, Jupiter next, and Mercury the faintest.
2 Third quarter moon at 7:15am.
5-6 The Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower peaks on these mornings. Some of my resources cite the peak on the morning of the 5th, others on the 6th, and some say it will be both mornings. Best bet is to go out both mornings. For viewers in lower latitudes and the Southern Hemisphere, this is a good shower, producing up to 60 meteors per hour. However, at mid-latitudes the numbers will be much lower. North of 40° latitude, you will probably see very few meteors. You should look for the meteors in the couple hours before morning twilight on both mornings.
6 The crescent moon shines in the morning twilight sky, looking east.
7 The thin crescent moon shines in the morning twilight sky, looking east-northeast.
8 A very thin crescent moon shines low on the horizon in the morning twilight sky, looking east-northeast.
9 New moon at 8:29pm.  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.
10 A very thin and faint crescent moon lies very close to the lower left of Venus in the dusk twilight sky, looking west-northwest. The moon probably will not be visible with the naked eye.
11 A very thin crescent moon lies to the upper right of Venus in the dusk twilight sky, looking west-northwest. Jupiter is directly above the moon.
12 The thin crescent moon lies to the upper right of Venus and Jupiter in the dusk twilight sky, looking west-northwest.
18 First quarter moon at 12:35am.
24 – 29 Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury will be very close together, low on the horizon in the dusk twilight sky in the west-northwest. They are closest together on the 26th and 27th, but for photos, any evening during this period (or a few days before and after) will work very well.
25 Full moon at 12:25am. 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.
31 Third quarter moon at 2:59pm.
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