Category Archives: Meteor Showers

Perseid Meteor – Carbon County, PA

I only managed to snag a few Perseid meteors this year from my backyard in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. You can see one in this image in the upper left corner.

TECH SPECS: Canon 6D, Samyang 14mm Lens, ISO 3200, 20 seconds, tripod mounted.

…Tom

My Basic Meteor Shower Photography Setup

With the Geminid meteor shower under way I thought I would take some time to show my typical setup for meteor shower photography.

First, I always have a problem with dew/frost on the lens.  My solution is mounting a hair dryer (if you have access to AC power) on a second tripod and aiming it at my lens.  I always seem to have a tripod with a missing shoe, the hair dryer handle fits perfectly through that hole. I set a speed and distance to supply a constant supply of air that is not too hot (you don’t want to overheat the camera sensor). I also place a plastic bag or cover over the camera body to help keep the dew/frost off, you can use a rubber band or something similar to help secure it. I once photographed the inside of a garbage bag for over two hours after a light wind flipped the bag up and over my lens, lol. The other plastic bag in the picture is to keep dew/frost off my power cables and switch.

My typical meteor shower photography setup using a hair dryer for dew control.

My typical meteor shower photography setup using a hair dryer for dew control.

For lens choice, the wider the view the better, IMHO.  You want to capture as much of the sky as possible. In the image above, I’m showing a Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens.  I also plan on using a Lensbaby Circular Fisheye 5.8mm f/3.5 (image shown below).

A typical "all sky" view using the Lensbaby fisheye lens.

A typical “all sky” view using the Lensbaby fisheye lens.

I select one location and photograph it for as many hours as possible. This has two benefits:

1. You can piece the images together into a nice time-lapse video.

2. You can create a dramatic star trail picture with the 100’s or 1000’s of images you will collect with no meteors. 😉

For camera control, I run a USB cable from my Canon 6D to a laptop or desktop computer. The software package Backyard EOS manages all the photographs during the evening. Backyard EOS allows you to select exposure duration, delays, ISO setting and so much more. Depending on the lens/camera setup, you should be able to take at least 20-25 second exposures with minimal star trails, try experimenting. You’ll also have to experiment with the f-stop setting of your lens, I typically do not shoot with the lens wide-open (i.e. the lowest f-stop). Try moving it one or two f-stops higher and see the difference with your equipment. It will help cut down on noise and star flare. The fisheye lens and Canon 6D allow me to shoot at ISO 3200 for 30-seconds.

Star Trails created from a series of photographs.

Star Trails created from a series of photographs.

The above image was created by stacking images using the software package Startrails, if you use it, please consider a donation, it is well worth it.

Good luck with your meteor pics!

Clear skies!

…Tom

 

Taurid Meteor Capture on November 18, 2015

I waited until 8:00 PM local time to set up my equipment for some meteor photography. It is always a tough call for me, moon photography or meteors….. After deciding to setup for meteors, it is time to select the right lens for the image I want to capture. I decided to use the Lensbaby Circular Fisheye to capture the entire sky, I sacrifice some image details to capture more of the sky. The image below shows what my setup looks like in the backyard.

An ethernet cable is connected to the Canon 6D camera and the software package Backyard EOS manages the camera (from inside my home). I can’t say enough good things about O’Telescope Corporation Backyard EOS software package. They offer a free 30-day trial license, check it out. The setup was for 60-second exposure.

After sorting through 423 sixty-second shots from last night, I managed to snag just one Taurid meteor (see image at the bottom of the page).

Dual tripod setup for meteor photography. One tripod for the camera setup (with a plastic bag covering everything but the lens opening) and the second tripod for a hair dryer to keep dew and frost off the equipment.

Dual tripod setup for meteor photography. One tripod for the camera setup (with a plastic bag covering everything but the lens opening) and the second tripod for a hair dryer to keep dew and frost off the equipment.

Taurid Meteor - November 18, 2015. IMAGE DETAILS: Canon 6D and Lensbaby Circular Fisheye lens set at f/3.5, 60 second exposure, tripod mounted.

Taurid Meteor – November 18, 2015. IMAGE DETAILS: Canon 6D and Lensbaby Circular Fisheye lens set at f/3.5, 60 second exposure, tripod mounted.

Clear skies!

…Tom

Star Trails of the Perseids

Star Trails – always fun to put together after collecting thousands of images after a meteor shower! This is a single composite image from pictures taken during the Perseid Meteor shower of 2015. The composition consists of 314 single 30-second images (just under three hours of data) using a Canon 6D and Samyang 14mm lens, tripod mounted. The software package Backyard EOS was used for camera control and for capturing the individual images. Another software package called StarStaX (v0.70) was used for piecing the images together.

Star Trails - always fun to put together after collecting thousands of images after a meteor shower!

Star Trails – always fun to put together after collecting thousands of images after a meteor shower!

Clear skies!

…Tom

Rainbow Colored Perseid Meteor

Rainbow colored Perseid meteor captured early this morning, August 13, 2015 in Weatherly, PA. Canon 6D and Samyang 14mm lens (f/2.8) and a 30 second exposure. From the little research I did, the colors are caused by interaction and burning of the meteorite in the atmosphere. GREEN is from initial entry and the burning of oxygen high in the atmosphere, ORANGE/RED hues from the burning of the meteorite, color is dependent on the constituents of the meteorite.

Rainbow colored Perseid meteor.

Rainbow colored Perseid meteor.

Clear skies!

…Tom

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