2013 Aug 12

 Perseid meteors

Luckily the clouds cleared at dusk this evening (22:30 BST) and so I set up my camera. I used my 15mm fish-eye lens so that about two thirds of the sky was covered and took 185 half-minute exposures on a fixed tripod (star trails are short in such a wide lens). Here is a crop and enlargement of one such frame:

Canon EOS 5D MkII, ISO 800, 32s, 15mm fish-eye lens at f/2.8
Fixed tripod 2013 August 12 22:19:01 UT
From Rookhope 54.8N 2.1W 330m asl. Rural, almost no light pollution (3 Bortles)

Perseus is at the bottom of the larger image on the left. The curvature of the meteor trail is due to the fish-eye lens.

I watched the sky while the photos were in progress and was struck by the greenness of the after-trail of many of the meteors. I wondered whether that was just an after-image effect in my eyes but this photo and others in the sequence suggest that the trails really were green.

I was disappointed with the number of meteors I managed to record. I saw many more with my own eyes. I think I need a higher ISO and shorter exposure time for meteors.

 Perseid meteors 2010

Weather prevented observing around the Perseid peak on 12th August this year but I got one lucky shot a few days earlier (on the 9th) while trying something else:

Canon EOS5DMkII 15mm fish-eye lens 10s f/2.8 ISO1600 2010:08:09 22:40:23 UT

The curve is due to the fact that this was cropped from a fish-eye lens view. Constellations Delphinus, Aquila and Sagitta are plainly visible.

 Perseid meteors 2007

I spent nearly nearly an hour on Sunday night, 12th August, from 22:15 to 23:15 taking photos. I took about 80 30-second photos with a 24mm (fairly wide angle) lens at f4, ISO 400. I had the camera fixed on a tripod looking in the direction of Cygnus - ie, about 90 degrees from the radiant in Perseus, so any meteors should be going across the field of view rather than coming towards me.

During that time I saw 8 meteors, a couple of which were very bright. I wasn't sure whether any had crossed the field of view of the camera. I have now had a look through the photos and found one which definitely contained a meteor, near the bottom edge of the frame. Here is a cropped extract, scaled down by 50%:

Canon EOS5D 24-105mm lens @ 24m 30s f/4 ISO400 2007:11:07 22:00:29

I wonder why there is a small break in the track just before the brightest part?

Several of the photos have satellites crossing them. They do not have the changing width and brightness of the meteor and in most cases they continue from one photo to the next, because of the wide field of view. Here is an example (also cropped and scaled down):

Canon EOS5D 24-105mm lens @ 24m 30s f/4 ISO400 2007:11:07 21:48:28

Shortly after dark, when the sun is still illuminating them, a lot of satellites can be seen going across the sky so it is not hard to photograph them.


One photo has a low-flying plane going right across it, not quite what I wanted but striking. Here is a cropped and scaled down extract:

Canon EOS5D 24-105mm lens @ 24m 30s f/4 ISO400 2007:11:07 21:27:47

In the top right corner of that photo the bright star is Vega, in the constellation of Lyra. Also visible is the cross shape of Cygnus, which the plane flies over.

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