October 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 Brilliant Venus (about magnitude -4.4) shines low in the dusk sky to the west. It will make a great complement to a twilight landscape scene.
All month Jupiter rises in the northeast around midnight during the first of the month and about two hours earlier at the end of the month. At dawn, it shines high in the southern sky. At about magnitude -2.3, it is the brightest object in the morning sky other than the moon.
All month Rusty-colored Mars rises around 3am and shines in the east during dawn twilight. It is much fainter than Jupiter, at about magnitude 1.6, but it will show up well in photos taken before the sky brightens.
All month The Milky Way shines brightly and high in the sky for most of the night. October is a great month to photograph it because the summer haze is gone and the nights are often dry and clear.
All month Orion rises around midnight in the northeast and is low on the southern horizon during dawn twilight.
1 The crescent moon shines to the upper right of Mars in the dawn sky, looking east.
2 The thin crescent moon shines below Mars in the dawn sky, looking east.
3 A sliver thin and faint crescent moon shines very low on the horizon in the morning twilight sky, looking east.
3 – 16 The zodiacal light is visible in the east before sunrise from dark locations. See this blog post for more information.
4 New moon at 8:35pm. 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.
6 A sliver 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.
7 A very thin crescent moon shines low on the horizon in the dusk twilight sky, looking southwest. Venus lies to the upper left of the moon.
8 The thin crescent moon lies just above Venus in the dusk twilight sky, looking southwest.
9 The crescent moon lies to the upper left of Venus in the dusk twilight sky, looking southwest.
10 The Southern Taurid meteor shower peaks in the morning hours. This is not a major shower, producing only about 5 meteors per hour under ideal conditions, but the moon sets before midnight on the previous evening, so the conditions will be good.
11 First quarter moon at 7:03pm.
16 – 17 Venus and the star Antares lie very close together in the dusk twilight sky, looking southwest.
18 Full moon at 7:38pm. 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 Viewers in the eastern portion of North America can see a penumbral lunar eclipse. Look for shading on the southern half of the moon. It will be faint, but should be visible to the naked eye. The strongest portion of the eclipse will occur at 7:50pm, but it may be visible to a lesser degree for 20 minutes or so before and after the peak.
21 The Orionid meteor shower peaks this morning. In ideal observation conditions, the shower produces about 20 to 25 meteors per hour. Unfortunately, a bright waning gibbous moon will interfere with visibility this year, washing out all but the brightest meteors. The Orionids are active for several days before and after the peak, though in lesser numbers. The shower’s radiant, or the point from which the meteors appear to emerge, is the constellation Orion. Although you can see meteors anywhere in the sky, Orion would make an excellent complementing element in the composition.
26 Third quarter moon at 7:41pm.
31 Halloween (All Hallows’ Eve) is observed in many countries around the world. The holiday is great for night photography, with houses decorated with jack-o’-lanterns and many towns having impressive displays. Bonfires are also a tradition during Halloween. Check with your local cities and towns to see what official events they may have planned. Also, an evening drive around the neighborhood should reveal some good photo ops. Photographing lighted holiday displays, including jack-o’-lanterns and bonfires, often works best during twilight, same as when shooting cityscapes.
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