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Look to the skies - Perseid meteor showers reach their peak this weekend

By dpreview staff on Aug 10, 2012 at 22:23 GMT

Looking for something to photograph this weekend? How about the Perseid meteor showers (which should be visible over the next few evenings and nights)? Perseid meteors are debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, and are particularly visible around August 12th, so it's worth thinking about the shot you want to capture them in. Here are a couple of links to help you plan the timings and your camera setup, to get the best shots.

A Perseid meteor passing over Stanmer Church, England, in August 2010. (Photo by Dominic Alves)

Comments

Total comments: 51
ScarletVarlet
By ScarletVarlet (Aug 13, 2012)

Out until 2:30 AM with my telescope. Shortsleeve temperatures all night and good viewing (though not for deep space.) Hoped club member with Canon 60Da would show as I really wanted to try a few DSOs as well as see how it picked up meteor streaks (though background IR may have played havoc with it, thanks to the heat.) Noshow on the 60Da, but plenty of Earth-grazing meteors (those with low entry angles) put on a colorful show. Expect more for the following week.

0 upvotes
risto40
By risto40 (Aug 13, 2012)

I was taking photographs of stars first time, 2 nights in row. On the 1st night I could photograph only around 15minutes because I went out too late and soon clouds filled the sky. I managed to capture only star-trails, but no falling stars. In the second night, last night, went out earlier and I took pictures during an hour. Success. Finally one nice falling star appeared in the direction where I was pointed my camera.
Here are 5 pics I took: http://www.hundiurg.eu/imgs_to_dPreview/dPreview.php
The last one is from the 1st night, others are 2nd night. I must say, I like falling star without startrails more (seems cleaner/clearer).
Tech: Taken with good old Canon 40D+17-85 @17mm f4, iso 1000-1600. Lot of 30sec pictures blended together.

1 upvote
Traveller
By Traveller (Aug 14, 2012)

Dear Risto:

Seriously, that is good work! I was very impressed.

Best Wishes, Traveller

2 upvotes
Malcolm Chalmers
By Malcolm Chalmers (Aug 16, 2012)

2 is my favorite

1 upvote
risto40
By risto40 (Aug 16, 2012)

Thank you, I'm glad you like!

0 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 12, 2012)

Since I couldn't sleep, a few hours before dawn I and sat back in a folding lawn chair... and between gazing at Jupiter, The Pleiades, Luna, Jupiter and rising Venus (and later a cute little Orion Nebula prior to sunup!) in my super-bang-for-the-buck 12x60 binoc's (If you don't have a pair of binocs (I recommend an aperture of 50mm lenses at least for astronomy but you can certainly use anything) then GET a pair!), and scanning the sky for meteors naked-eye ( I saw about a dozen, give or take! And that is with some of the worst light pollution in the nation..) between all that, it was a great night! Who needs sleep, heheh...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Aug 12, 2012)

sadly in India where I live its raining(monsoons) so might miss this wonderful opportunity.

1 upvote
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 12, 2012)

I am sorry to hear! BUT, think how great it is that you have RAIN! Precious, precious rain, lol... I so wish it would rain here (it's like a desert!). I know how it is to be clouded out for lunar eclipses, I missed a couple now for two years in a row!

1 upvote
anyurtan
By anyurtan (Aug 12, 2012)

Thanks for this info!
I watched the Perseid meteor shower.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/anyurtan/7765032322/

1 upvote
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 12, 2012)

NICE! Thank you for sharing! I want to dip my toes and try that as well, it seems like a blast!

0 upvotes
voider
By voider (Aug 12, 2012)

Thank you so much for posting this info. Please post these kind of information more often. I went out and saw 30-40 Meteors. Some were really huge. We drove out of the city and where in the middle of nowhere with no clouds and in total darkness. It was a beautiful night. Thanks again, Timur

Germany, Lüneburger Heide
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1006&message=42242270

5 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 12, 2012)

Wow... just, wow. My hat is off to you.

1 upvote
Shakens
By Shakens (Aug 12, 2012)

couldnt see anything here in nottingham
a cloudy night

0 upvotes
Anangeli
By Anangeli (Aug 11, 2012)

I am going to look tonight'

0 upvotes
SunnyTM
By SunnyTM (Aug 11, 2012)

Saw 6 meteors just now. Just 1 second trails here in The Netherlands.

3 upvotes
onimkron
By onimkron (Aug 11, 2012)

I was at Snowdon at about 1:30am today, loads of shooting stars in very clear conditions. Didn't know there were meteor showers occurring today.

1 upvote
Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Aug 11, 2012)

I'm going to the Aflenzer Bürgeralm in Styria / Austria tomorrow. 1500m elevation, not much around, good weather forecast. Rented a 10.5 Fisheye for my D7000.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Aug 13, 2012)

Bad luck, it turned out to be completely overcast in our area. Next year, next try!

0 upvotes
snegron
By snegron (Aug 11, 2012)

I stared at the sky last night for about 45 minutes. I didn't see any meteors. Neck cramped. Went back inside.

0 upvotes
makeitworst
By makeitworst (Aug 11, 2012)

Is Dpreview now Backyard Astronomy Review??

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (Aug 11, 2012)

Backyard Astronomy Photography, if I may dare.

0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Aug 11, 2012)

Yeah, it sickens me that they're posting a heads-up on the Perseid meteor shower. I mean, where's the photography angle? HOW DARE THEY? </sarcasm>

12 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (Aug 12, 2012)

You can do what NASA just did a few days ago. Just sadle your camera on to a robot and catapult it into and out of earth stratosphere. I am sure you will get a photography angle. I can not think of a name for your robot thougt. Me, I will just try to set head-up my camera just in case I fall asleep.

0 upvotes
meanwhile
By meanwhile (Aug 13, 2012)

"Is Dpreview now Backyard Astronomy Review"

I hope so, as I no longer subscribe to the magazine.

1 upvote
ppage
By ppage (Aug 11, 2012)

It seems like the mere announcement of any celestial event pretty well guarantees a few days of rain here in Montreal... sigh....

3 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (Aug 11, 2012)

It is true, you noticed that too? I can not agree more. Add to it that always rains on my days off.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
WilliamJ
By WilliamJ (Aug 11, 2012)

Very true here in Japan too. Whenever there is something interesting to shoot in the sky, there are always bags of clouds or a heavy rain hidding the show. Damn !

And it's worse on mondays !

Rainy Days On Mondays by Paul Williams : http://youtu.be/1-eOUfMI-MI

Rainy Days And Mondays by The Carpenters : http://youtu.be/PjFoQxjgbrs

0 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Aug 11, 2012)

Hopefully, it won't be cloudy and rainy all weekend.

1 upvote
puneetvikramsingh
By puneetvikramsingh (Aug 11, 2012)

i got it on 17 july ....here is the flickr link http://flic.kr/p/cMrSes

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Aug 11, 2012)

Whatever those are, they are not Perseids.

0 upvotes
puneetvikramsingh
By puneetvikramsingh (Aug 11, 2012)

that shot is taken at the highest altitude of 6000m....The great himalayas !!!!

0 upvotes
Traveller
By Traveller (Aug 14, 2012)

I doubt that these are the Perseids Meteors also...which is not to say that this isn't a terrific image with meteors trails in it.

Best Wishes, Traveller

0 upvotes
ngollan
By ngollan (Aug 11, 2012)

It's moments like these when I really curse Nikon for using that ever-broken sensor on the D7000. No long-time exposures for me, only live viewing.

2 upvotes
MarkByland
By MarkByland (Aug 11, 2012)

I have a Fujifilm S3 Pro that is a noise generator. But even at ISO 1600 for 30 seconds I can still get a suitable image for editing. I try not to use it too much for AP stuff but when the other cameras are busy ...

I would hope that the D7000 can handle a 25-30 second frame at ISO1600 or 800. Turn off the in-camera NR if possible and adjust to liking afterwards. An intervalometer set to run for an hour at 30s frames with a small break in between should capture some thing.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
risto40
By risto40 (Aug 11, 2012)

got it. visible in my country too.

0 upvotes
risto40
By risto40 (Aug 11, 2012)

Where is this meteor shower visible? Everywhere in the world?

0 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Aug 11, 2012)

Mostly the Northern Hemisphere. They appear to originate in the constellation Perseus, though they are seen at various places in the sky. If you can see Perseus or the area near it, your odds of seeing some are good. Most are faint and brief and gone before you get a good look at them, but still fun to spot. My brother and I used to compete at spotting them first when we were kids. Good times.

0 upvotes
photoastro
By photoastro (Aug 11, 2012)

https://sites.google.com/site/3davel/home/light-pollution/lp2001/gmap

The above map estimates how dark the sky will be based upon the Bortle Scale ( http://www.skyandtelescope.com/resources/darksky/3304011.html )

The black zones are the darkest, followed by the gray zones, and so on.
Each color zone represents a roughly 30% increase in the number of meteors you see (assuming equal atmospheric conditions)

I'd recommend going well into the green zone at minimum. Make sure to get away from local light pollution as well, since the color zones do not account for that. If you can easily see the Milky Way, and it has many dark lanes and appears to be sharp instead of washed out, you're under a very good sky.

Do note that the moon will interfere this year, just slightly. Meteors can be seen and photographed anywhere in the sky. However the meteor trails to the NE will be shortest and if you aim it to the east after moonrise, you'll get the glare of the moon.

After midnight is best.

3 upvotes
LoganVii
By LoganVii (Aug 11, 2012)

I'm going to the beach house to take some picts of it. Since it has no electricity it get's very dark at night.

0 upvotes
Paul Farace
By Paul Farace (Aug 11, 2012)

Getting to a viewing point away from light pollution is the key! Living in Cleveland I've seen the occasional Perseid meteor, but back in the late 90's my wife and I were in Chincoteague, VA (very dark) and I was flabberghasted by the amount and brightness of the showers! If only we had clear skies in Cleveland and more darkness.

0 upvotes
tbower
By tbower (Aug 11, 2012)

Paul....

I live in northwest Stark County between Akron and Canton and I have the same problem.

0 upvotes
abi170845
By abi170845 (Aug 11, 2012)

Here you go Roger

http://www.spacedex.com/perseids/locations/perseid-asia-indonesia.php

1 upvote
Roger Knight
By Roger Knight (Aug 11, 2012)

Does anyone have a link to a similar site that covers the Southern hemisphere skies?
The last meteor shower that I saw here in South Australia was awesome.

1 upvote
abi170845
By abi170845 (Aug 11, 2012)

http://www.spacedex.com/perseids/locations/perseid-asia-indonesia.php

1 upvote
David Kinston
By David Kinston (Aug 11, 2012)

look for the 'heavens above' site

0 upvotes
alfredo_tomato
By alfredo_tomato (Aug 10, 2012)

The Meteors will radiate from the east. flat on your back is the best way to watch the shower.

If you want a star map, and you have an iPad or iPhone, get the free Star Walk app. It's the best astro app I've found.

3 upvotes
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 10, 2012)

Thanks! (I'd thumbs up this article if I could!)

1 upvote
neo_nights
By neo_nights (Aug 11, 2012)

Shouldn't you hooves up, instead?

1 upvote
Camediadude
By Camediadude (Aug 11, 2012)

Hehe, Indeed I should.

0 upvotes
Bill Bentley
By Bill Bentley (Aug 10, 2012)

Cool. Even though I'm in the city I'm gonna try from my deck. I've seen two already this week in the late evening.

1 upvote
Simon Cowell
By Simon Cowell (Aug 10, 2012)

Very useful - thank you.

2 upvotes
Total comments: 51