Perseid Meteor Shower Aug. 11-12 2013

jrista

EOL
Dec 3, 2011
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Just in case anyone likes photographing meteor showers, the Perseids peak on August 11th and 12th. I am not sure I'll be able to get any shots...Colorado has been experiencing pretty powerful thunderstorms every evening and through most of the night for about a week now. *sob!* :'(

Anyway, if anyone manages to capture any night sky photos of the shower, I'd love to see some posted here! :)

http://www.space.com/22133-summer-meteor-showers-2013.html
 

niteclicks

EOS 90D
Mar 6, 2013
143
0
I had clouds here again too. Every major event other than Pannstars has been a bust for me the last two years.
The summer skies are my favorite but the humidity this year has been like shooting though a fish bowl. :(
 

jrista

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Dec 3, 2011
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niteclicks said:
I had clouds here again too. Every major event other than Pannstars has been a bust for me the last two years.
The summer skies are my favorite but the humidity this year has been like shooting though a fish bowl. :(

Aye...too cloudy here as well. Totally agree about the humidity...I live in Colorado, which is usually pretty arid. This year has been very strange in that we have relatively high humidity (sometimes 90-100%). I am hoping that by the time October/November rolls around and Comet ISON fills the sky!
 

emag

EOS RP
Feb 22, 2012
332
3
From the you-think-that's-bad department......Florida Panhandle here. In August, 90% humidity would be considered arid. Just in case the unimagineable occurs and the sky clears up for one evening, we have Ninja mosquitoes just waiting for us to be foolish enough to set up scopes and cameras. In all my years here, I have once and only once enjoyed astrophotography on an August night. It was while a hurricane was crossing central Florida and sucking dry air over Pensacola, dropped to the low 60's that night, it felt frigid. A few weeks later we were hit by Hurricane Ivan, took out the U.S. Interstate 10 bridge over the bay and knocked out power for weeks. But oh how gourgeous the skies were after that.....dark, clear, no light pollution. We slept in the screen room because it was too hot in the house, I still recall seeing the Pleiades rising through the branches of the leafless trees in my back yard.
 

niteclicks

EOS 90D
Mar 6, 2013
143
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I guess we should find out in a couple weeks how ISON is progressing, I hope it has brightened. November here in Oklahoma usually are some of our best skies and weather. I learned a lot with Pannstars and have better East views available , only down side I'm not a morning person. :-\
 
Aug 13, 2013
1
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Timelapsed from about 10pm-4am here in Tennessee and I was definitely shooting between the clouds. Looked at the footage and haven't seen anything novel yet... Any ideas on how to best capture a meteor shower? Long Exposures?
 

niteclicks

EOS 90D
Mar 6, 2013
143
0
I have seen other posts that had good skies , but no fireballs . I saw two about 3 min. apart @ 4:00 am when I got up to see if it cleared up, but it was so humid I went back to bed. Time lapse was what I was going to do, about 30 sec. exposure and 5 sec between. Have you stretched the exposures to the max to see if you caught any at all? I wasn't concerned with trailing, more with continual coverage and 28mm on full frame the trailing in that part of the sky wasn't that bad .
 

jrista

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Dec 3, 2011
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CarsonWA said:
Timelapsed from about 10pm-4am here in Tennessee and I was definitely shooting between the clouds. Looked at the footage and haven't seen anything novel yet... Any ideas on how to best capture a meteor shower? Long Exposures?

Actually, shorter exposures at higher ISO are ideal. I usually shoot showers at ISO 3200, with 4 to 6 second shutter speeds. I attach a wireless intervalometer, set it up to take a shot as frequently as possible, set it to maximum number of exposures, and let it rip. (The wireless intervalometer is great for the Geminids, when it can be below freezing outside. You can handily sit inside your car and control your camera without having to venture back out into the cold except to reposition the camera.)

geminid-meteor-shower-2012-1-of-5.jpg


The reason to use higher ISO and shorter shutter is to normalize "time on pixels". You want the amount of time on pixels for the meteors to be as high as, or higher than, the amount of time on pixels for stars. The longer you expose, the longer stars will have time on pixels, where as short-lived meteors will have less, in relative terms. The longer the exposure time, the dimmer meteors will be. The photo above was ISO 3200, 4 seconds. The photo below is what you get with a longer exposure time (in this case, not much longer...6-8 seconds I think, however it was also a dimmer meteor than the one above. A 4 second exposure, at ISO 6400, might have been better.):

geminid-meteor-shower-2012-4-of-5.jpg


Getting shutter speed right is key. Too short, and you run a greater risk that the inter-exposure time (mirror flap down, intervalometer delay, etc.) will occur when a meteor streaks. Longer, and you are more likely to capture a meteor...but they tend to be too dim to really be exciting. To maximize your potential, having two cameras, at 4-6 second shutter speeds, high ISO, but alternating exposure intervals, will ensure that one camera always has its shutter open, maximizing the chance of capturing a meteor as it enters the atmosphere.

Here are a couple more shots. These were all of the Geminids last December. I have not had a chance to capture any other showers this year. Either too cloudy, or I missed the date. I think the Draconids, which are a slower show, with slower moving but often bright streakers, happens soonish (October?). I'm hoping that the sky is clear when that one occurs... The Draconids had a ZHR of 100 last year, which is pretty high! (About 1.5 meteors per second.) Not sure if it will be that good this year or not.

geminid-meteor-shower-2012-2-of-5.jpg

geminid-meteor-shower-2012-3-of-5.jpg
 

jrista

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Dec 3, 2011
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emag said:
From the you-think-that's-bad department......Florida Panhandle here. In August, 90% humidity would be considered arid. Just in case the unimagineable occurs and the sky clears up for one evening, we have Ninja mosquitoes just waiting for us to be foolish enough to set up scopes and cameras. In all my years here, I have once and only once enjoyed astrophotography on an August night. It was while a hurricane was crossing central Florida and sucking dry air over Pensacola, dropped to the low 60's that night, it felt frigid. A few weeks later we were hit by Hurricane Ivan, took out the U.S. Interstate 10 bridge over the bay and knocked out power for weeks. But oh how gourgeous the skies were after that.....dark, clear, no light pollution. We slept in the screen room because it was too hot in the house, I still recall seeing the Pleiades rising through the branches of the leafless trees in my back yard.

I bet that dark, light-pollution-free sky was pretty freakin amazing! Got any photos?

I'll admit, 90-100% humidity is not as bad as many places along the east cost. It is still pretty bad, though. Two weekends ago we had really high humidity. I just had to walk out side and stand there, and I'd be dripping within five minutes. That is pretty much unheard of out here in Colorado. Things are usually bone dry. :p

What has been nice is the weather...Colorado went through about a decade of weird weather...less and less summer rain, until last year we literally got nothing between the second week of June through the first couple weeks of September. It was blistering hot, our water reserves dropped by five to six feet (hundreds of millions of gallons at least), etc. The rain this year has been like a kick back to the 90's...when it rained like clockwork at 4pm every summer evening. Not quite as clockworklike this year, but regular enough that we get rain almost every day.
 

CarlTN

EOS 5D Mark IV
Feb 1, 2013
2,170
0
Even a dark sky is never dark enough for a really long exposure...so agree with Jrista...shorter exposures are best. The issue isn't so much the brightness of the stars, but the air of the sky. (Even with zero light pollution, the sky still lights up, whether from the star light, or other phenomena). If there were no air, then the brightness of the stars in a longer exposure would take precedence.
 

CarlTN

EOS 5D Mark IV
Feb 1, 2013
2,170
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BrandonKing96

EOS 90D
Sep 23, 2012
142
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sigh i was going to try and take photos of what I could (living in Australia), but it got cloudy very quickly, even though the day was super clear!
 

niteclicks

EOS 90D
Mar 6, 2013
143
0
Thanks for the reminder jrista. My brain is getting ever more forgetful. I just divided up the time by my card size and was going to go with that. Guess its just as well that it clouded up, saved me a lot of time sorting photos in frustration. :eek:
 

Schruminator

I'm just kidding, seriously.
Sep 18, 2012
95
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Tulsa, OK USA
www.mschrum.com
Naw, with the light pollution in the area you just can't get the Milky Way to show up any brighter than that. I'm definitely looking forward to my trip to Wyoming in a few weeks to get away from the city lights!
 

jrista

EOL
Dec 3, 2011
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niteclicks said:
Thanks for the reminder jrista. My brain is getting ever more forgetful. I just divided up the time by my card size and was going to go with that. Guess its just as well that it clouded up, saved me a lot of time sorting photos in frustration. :eek:

Here is a better reminder:

meteor_showers.png


:D :D :D

The end of the year is a really good time for meteor showers...Draconids, Leonids, Orionids, and Geminids. All in the span of less than three months. I just hope the sky is clear for all four of them. I didn't get any good shots of the Leonids and Orionids last year...I hadn't yet figured out the whole "time on pixels" factor (or the meteors that I was able to see were just too dim...a nice big fireball would show up brightly even on a 30 second exposure.) The Geminids were the first shower that I got some good shots of. I really want to apply the technique this year (and hopefully with a 5D III) to all four showers.
 

jrista

EOL
Dec 3, 2011
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Schruminator said:
This is a compilation of a few shots from the other night.

4.jpg

http://500px.com/photo/43230586

Excellent shot. It looks like you might have actually gotten some meteors from different showers. I can see a bunch coming from the same radiant, and there are a couple others that seem to streak cross-wise to that radiant. Wonder which storm those were from...

Light pollution is such a pain. I headed out about 35 minutes from down, well south of the Denver area, for the Geminids last year. I am thinking I might need to drive more like an hour to get to darker territory this year.