Seasons of the Astrophotography

Some thoughts and observations on what is sensible to photograph in a given time of the seasons

Making pictures of the sky objects is driven by annual seasons as objects move, or better, the Earth travels around the Sun. Your view of the sky is defined by your location. The majorty of “a must” astrophotography objects are located in the belt of Milky Way. The Milky Way cross the sky at totally different angles which are extreme on places far in the south and in the north. Due to this, some objects might be never visible in the night at your place or even not at all. For example, the Scorpius constellation with many nice objects is best visible from locations in Southern Hemisphere and so belongs to the the Southern Celestial Hemisphere. In the north, Scorpius does not raise very high and many of its objects are hard if not impossible to photograph in Western Europe, for example. On the opposite, the Cygnus constellation with the great Western Veil Nebula belongs to the Northern Celestial Hemisphere and so Western Veil Nebula does not rise high enought for the folks in, say, Melbourne.

The rotation of the Earth creates a certain window in the time of the day and in a season of the year when given Deep Sky Objects rise high enough in the sky. “High enough” is understood as 30 degrees altitude and higher. On top, our own galaxy, Milky Way, blocks the view on some other galaxies. The spring is known as a “Galaxy Season” (see the blog post by Charles Bracken on this). To me it looks like, it is close to impossible to create a handy list objects for everyone. Charles Bracken (the author of another prominent book: “The Deep-sky Imaging Primer”) did some number crunching and created  “The Astrophotography Planner” which now came out in a new edition for 2020-2021. I think, it might be the overview of Deep Sky Objects at different times!

Some other folks made lists for some selected locations. Antoine & Dalia Grelin at Galactic Hunter provide a few, for example:

They are located in Las Vegas and so the list are tailored more for the southern part of the Northern Hemisphere.

For planning, I use Telescopius which can control Stellarium for navigation and visualization.

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