stevelee

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Well, it is unidentified and probably a flying object anyway.

The Perseid meteor shower is supposed to peak late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. Since the sky was clear overhead and to the northeast tonight, I thought it a good time to run a test in case I had good weather later. So I set my camera on a tripod on my deck and pointed it mostly up and toward the northeast. The trees behind the house don't give me a whole lot of open sky. After a couple test shots that looked overexposed, I set the camera to take a picture every 30 seconds, starting at 10pm and going until 11:13 EDT. Local solar time is an hour and 29 minutes earlier right now, so the sky continued to get darker during the shoot, and some dimmer stars showed up as astronomical twilight faded.

I zoomed the 16–35mm f/4 lens to 20mm. I manually focused to ∞. Manual settings were 10 sec., f/6.3, and ISO 1600. The camera is a 26.2 MP Canon 6D2.

I thought I might even luck into a meteor. I did get a few planes, since a major airport is 25 miles south of me. In a couple shots I thought I might have caught a meteor, but on further examination, I think it might have been a small plane. For one thing, it showed up on two consecutive frames, and I don't think a meteor would hang around long enough for that. The first picture is the UFO. The second is obviously a commercial aircraft with its blinking lights. Both are 100% crops. The only adjustment I did in ACR was to nudge up clarity enough for the trails to be clearer.

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stevelee

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Besides identifying the flying object, if you want to make any suggestions on what to do differently when I try this for real, weather permitting, I would appreciate it.

I think I will increase the shutter maybe to 15 seconds and lower the ISO accordingly. I might zoom out a bit more and try to reorient the camera to take in a bit more sky. The longer time and greater sky might help my odds at catching a meteor. I don't think I should start getting star trails at that focal length until after 20 seconds.
 
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stevelee

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They are planes.
All the planes except that one look like the second picture, so I figured it must not be a commercial jet.

When I shoot for the meteor shower, I will start later at night, and therefore should get fewer planes. I will also have darker skies and a better chance of meteors.
 
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Joules

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All the planes except that one look like the second picture, so I figured it must not be a commercial jet.

When I shoot for the meteor shower, I will start later at night, and therefore should get fewer planes. I will also have darker skies and a better chance of meteors.
I agree that it is a plane. If you look close at the bottom in your second picture, you will see it also has two lines. The amount of separation between them might be related to how high above you it was.

A solid line of light would be a sattelite illuminated by the remaining sun, by the way. A proper meteor has an irregular thickness and might even have a bit of color. Some sattelites also produce such a image.

As for settings, 1/10 of a second is indeed very optimistic for catching anything moving across the sky for a tiny moment.

I'm not sure about lower the ISO even further though. To me your image looks way too dark.

Why did you use f/6.3 on an f/4.0 lens? In general, for astro photography you want to capture all the light you can.

Keep in mind that ISO does not actually add noise to your image and in the case of older sensors like the 6D II shooting at a low ISO and brightening in post would actually result in visibly worse results than just shooting at the correct brightness in the first place. Reducing the light through a narrower aperture will recuse the light and therefore att noise.

Perhaps you could post a shot that looked overexposed to you? It does if course depend on the look you are going for, but as I usually shoot the milky way I like a lot of star light in the sky to be visible.

Also, for sharp stars, picking a bright one and focusing on it manually through LiveView is better than just setting the lens focus to infinity. Rarely will the latter actually give you sharp stars.
 
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Joules

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On a side note, here is a shot of what I believe to be a meteor in the upper left hand section of the image. Settings: 80D 90 seconds f/2.0 ISO 800 with Samyang 16 mm 2.0 lens. Pretty lucky, considering I didn't actually attempted to capture one and it was a bit away from the upcoming meteor shower. Though I had also seen two other ones with my eyes on that night.
 

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stevelee

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I agree that it is a plane. If you look close at the bottom in your second picture, you will see it also has two lines. The amount of separation between them might be related to how high above you it was.

A solid line of light would be a sattelite illuminated by the remaining sun, by the way. A proper meteor has an irregular thickness and might even have a bit of color. Some sattelites also produce such a image.

As for settings, 1/10 of a second is indeed very optimistic for catching anything moving across the sky for a tiny moment.

I'm not sure about lower the ISO even further though. To me your image looks way too dark.

Why did you use f/6.3 on an f/4.0 lens? In general, for astro photography you want to capture all the light you can.

Keep in mind that ISO does not actually add noise to your image and in the case of older sensors like the 6D II shooting at a low ISO and brightening in post would actually result in visibly worse results than just shooting at the correct brightness in the first place. Reducing the light through a narrower aperture will recuse the light and therefore att noise.

Perhaps you could post a shot that looked overexposed to you? It does if course depend on the look you are going for, but as I usually shoot the milky way I like a lot of star light in the sky to be visible.

Also, for sharp stars, picking a bright one and focusing on it manually through LiveView is better than just setting the lens focus to infinity. Rarely will the latter actually give you sharp stars.
Thanks for the comments. The "1/10 sec." was an obvious mistake in the posting. I have since corrected it to 10 sec. I did start out at f/4. Sunday night I tried a quick handheld shot to get an idea of exposure at 16mm, f/4, 20 sec., ISO 1600. It looked way too bright to me. I'm not shooting deep sky stuff or the Milky Way. I live in the northern part of a metropolitan area, so I would never get any of that stuff here at whatever settings I used. The sky looked black to me. Even with lights on in the house, I could barely see what I was doing. I could barely make out the shape of the trees. So last night I tried f/5.6, 20mm, 15 sec., ISO 1600. It still looked too bright, hence the settings I used for the time lapse shots. These are both reduced in size for posting, so smaller stars are lost. I did no adjustments in ACR. I will take your advice to give more exposure in hopes of catching meteors, then I can darken the blacks.

handheld.jpg


IMG_4016.jpg
 
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stevelee

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I have the battery charge topped off and have formatted the memory card and made the manual settings. So far I haven’t seen any stars from my deck, so I haven’t set up the camera yet. Weather radar suggests the sky might clear in the next few hours, so there is still some hope for tonight, and it is early for seeing meteors, 9:46pm EDT and 8:18 local solar time.
 
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stevelee

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It was still cloudy after midnight, but I decided I would go ahead and set the camera to shooting. Eventually it cleared. I dozed for a while and went out to bring in the camera. It had taken 627 pictures every 25 seconds from 12:48 to 5:11 am EDT. I am resisting the temptation to look through all of the pictures now, but will go to bed instead once I finish this post. I can ignore the pictures of clouds, though they might make an interesting time lapse of their own. I decided to look at a few of the later ones. I did see a couple of planes. Then I found a shot with a couple meteor candidates, taken at 4:57 am. I post first a 50% shot that shows them both, one clear and a faint one in the upper right of the crop. I then am posting 100% crops of each. The lines run very different from the direction of the planes. In the light of day I might be able to figure out the compass directions. At 100% it is obvious that 15 seconds shows just a little of the earth's motion in the stars. I added just a bit of Clarity and cut back on magenta in ACR is all. The JPEGs, even at high quality, lose the meteor(?) streaks a bit.

IMG_4753.jpg

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IMG_4753b.jpg
 
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privatebydesign

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It was still cloudy after midnight, but I decided I would go ahead and set the camera to shooting. Eventually it cleared. I dozed for a while and went out to bring in the camera. It had taken 627 pictures every 25 seconds from 12:48 to 5:11 am EDT. I am resisting the temptation to look through all of the pictures now, but will go to bed instead once I finish this post. I can ignore the pictures of clouds, though they might make an interesting time lapse of their own. I decided to look at a few of the later ones. I did see a couple of planes. Then I found a shot with a couple meteor candidates, taken at 4:57 am. I post first a 50% shot that shows them both, one clear and a faint one in the upper right of the crop. I then am posting 100% crops of each. The lines run very different from the direction of the planes. In the light of day I might be able to figure out the compass directions. At 100% it is obvious that 15 seconds shows just a little of the earth's motion in the stars. I added just a bit of Clarity and cut back on magenta in ACR is all. The JPEGs, even at high quality, lose the meteor(?) streaks a bit.

View attachment 199534

View attachment 199535

View attachment 199536
The first one, is 100% a meteor, the second one, top right of frame, could be a satellite or a meteor, it’s difficult to tell. Personally I think it looks a bit more like a satellite, constant light and much longer path, though neither of those are definitive together they do imply satellite.
 
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stevelee

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I’m pasting this message because somehow when I try to type certain characters into a post, it kicks me out of the window

I meant to say that the video was assembled from the first couple hours of stills, as the clouds broke. It is best seen full screen and in 4K if possible, so you can see all the stars.

I have no idea what is happening in this software that keeps me from posting directly.
 
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