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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Aug. 11-12
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08/08/2007 05:31:38 PM · #1
I'm within walking distance to our state park. The entrance is a long, wide open stretch and it will be simple to set up a nice viewing area with my telescope and camera/tripod combination. I don't have a clue how to shoot it though...any tips?
08/08/2007 05:46:53 PM · #2
long exposure would be the only way to go. tripod with a semi-fast lens. Wide angle would be good. Try to get a foreground subject instead of just sky. 30 seconds is about the longest you can get without blurring the stars too much (although the wider your lens the longer you can go). I'd just find a good setting for a 30 second exposure that shows the stars up nicely and then shoot one shot after the other.

On your 400D though you'll be somewhat hampered by noise at higher ISOs. Be wary of that.
08/08/2007 05:49:38 PM · #3
Originally posted by dsterner:

I'm within walking distance to our state park. The entrance is a long, wide open stretch and it will be simple to set up a nice viewing area with my telescope and camera/tripod combination. I don't have a clue how to shoot it though...any tips?

I wish I could offer some advice, but I've never photographed anything through a telescope. I'd love to try it though.

What type of telescope will you be using?

08/08/2007 05:55:48 PM · #4
Nasa's website about the yearly shower
08/08/2007 05:59:12 PM · #5
For meteor showers a telescope is fairly useless. The meteors can appear in any part of the sky at any time. So you get a far better view of the shower by just sitting back and watching it naked eye.

For photographing meteor showers, DrAchoo is right; just use a wide angle lens to take in as much of the sky as possible. (i.e. don't try and photograph it through a telescope)
08/08/2007 06:01:59 PM · #6
As Dr A posted, use the widest angle lens you have. Try your 18-200 @ 18mm, and start at about f/4 or f/5.6. Point the camera roughly East, take in as much sky as possible (point upward) and open the shutter for 45 seconds to several minutes at a time. You should catch some, especially near the peak time. Use ISO of 200 to 800. Higher is better, but will of course increase noise.
Focusing is a little tricky. Put the lens in manual focus & set to the infinity mark. Set the aperture wide open, ISO at 400 and the shutter for about 10 seconds. Shoot a patch of sky, and look at the bright stars in the image. Are they sharp? Now move focus very slightly one way, shoot another frame. Move focus very slightly the other way, shoot another frame. Compare the three frames. Which one is best? If it's one of the ones that's off the infinity mark, try a little more in that direction. Keep experimenting until you know where the best point is.
Now stop down and shoot, keeping the lens set to manual focus. Record the best focus position for future reference.
08/08/2007 06:07:22 PM · #7
Anybody know of a star tracking program that can tell me where Perseus will be on the west coast in the hours before dawn? say 4:00AM? I'm thinking of being at the coast where it is dark but that involves mountains and cliffs to the east and wonder if it will obstruct the view.
08/08/2007 06:09:40 PM · #8
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Anybody know of a star tracking program that can tell me where Perseus will be on the west coast in the hours before dawn? say 4:00AM? I'm thinking of being at the coast where it is dark but that involves mountains and cliffs to the east and wonder if it will obstruct the view.

Stellarium
08/08/2007 06:14:02 PM · #9
Originally posted by kirbic:

As Dr A posted, use the widest angle lens you have. Try your 18-200 @ 18mm, and start at about f/4 or f/5.6. Point the camera roughly East, take in as much sky as possible (point upward) and open the shutter for 45 seconds to several minutes at a time. You should catch some, especially near the peak time. Use ISO of 200 to 800. Higher is better, but will of course increase noise.
Focusing is a little tricky. Put the lens in manual focus & set to the infinity mark. Set the aperture wide open, ISO at 400 and the shutter for about 10 seconds. Shoot a patch of sky, and look at the bright stars in the image. Are they sharp? Now move focus very slightly one way, shoot another frame. Move focus very slightly the other way, shoot another frame. Compare the three frames. Which one is best? If it's one of the ones that's off the infinity mark, try a little more in that direction. Keep experimenting until you know where the best point is.
Now stop down and shoot, keeping the lens set to manual focus. Record the best focus position for future reference.

Thanks for the directions! It sounds like you may have done this a time or two. :D

I imagine it might help to get out away from city lights?

08/08/2007 06:23:34 PM · #10
Originally posted by Mick:

I imagine it might help to get out away from city lights?


Yeppers, the darker the better! To find the darkest skies in your area, go here.
08/08/2007 06:40:18 PM · #11
Originally posted by jhonan:

Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Anybody know of a star tracking program that can tell me where Perseus will be on the west coast in the hours before dawn? say 4:00AM? I'm thinking of being at the coast where it is dark but that involves mountains and cliffs to the east and wonder if it will obstruct the view.

Stellarium


Thanks man, that thing is wicked cool.
08/08/2007 06:53:24 PM · #12
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by Mick:

I imagine it might help to get out away from city lights?


Yeppers, the darker the better! To find the darkest skies in your area, go here.

Wow Fritz, you make it too easy! :D

DarkSky says I can get a ~6.2 just by going 3.9 miles up our road. It also listed several ~7.0 sites, but they're all in Washington and about 50+ miles away.

08/08/2007 07:11:05 PM · #13
Originally posted by Mick:


Wow Fritz, you make it too easy! :D


Now get your boo-tay out there and shoot! Expert Free Study means stacking is legal! Yee-haw!
08/08/2007 07:23:43 PM · #14
The Nocturnes
08/08/2007 07:50:15 PM · #15
We were at the drive-in movies last weekend and saw 5 or 6. One of them was the best I have ever seen. You could see the fire trailing after it.
08/08/2007 10:22:09 PM · #16
Thanks for the reminder about the Perseids, and the links ...

I just got this notice about the possibly unusual Aurigid meteor shower coming up on September 1. Sounds like a "speed challenge" topic to me ... :-)
08/09/2007 08:59:54 AM · #17
As has been said already, using or shooting through a scope for meteors is not the best way to go. Equate it to using a telescope to try and photograph fireflies. ;)

Is best with wide angle, slow shutter speed or bulb is best. Get as far away from lights as you can, then try and go someplace even darker! While you may not be able to pick up on light pollution, your camera sensor can.

Also (and this also goes for those that just want to view the shower, not just image it), instead of breaking your neck craning to see all over the sky, focus on one section. You'll see all in this section, plus those out of your periphereal (sp?).

Here is link to Science@Nasa

Good luck, enjoy and as Jack says... Keep looking up! :)
08/11/2007 03:16:53 PM · #18

The best way to take pictures of meteors is to use a nice wide lens (anything between 10 and 20mm), set the aperture to f/2.8 (if possible, if not f/3.5 or. f/4) Use anything between ISO 800 and ISO 1600. Set the camera to bulb and point the camera to the darkest patch of sky available then shot away, just be careful not to overexpose.

Good luck & clear skies!
08/11/2007 03:46:18 PM · #19
how the heck do you use that dark sky's program? I can't figure out how to get it to run.

edit: I'll just use the older version.

Message edited by author 2007-08-11 15:50:00.
08/11/2007 08:02:07 PM · #20
Originally posted by kyebosh:

how the heck do you use that dark sky's program? I can't figure out how to get it to run.

From the Dark Sky Finder web page...

"The file that downloads is an executable Java JAR file. It requires the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed on your computer to be able to run. Most users simply need to double-click the file named DarkSky.jar. If this does not work, you may have to use a command-line such as a Unix “xterm” or the Windows “Command Prompt”. In this case, type the following: java -jar DarkSky.jar"

IOW, if you have the Java Runtime Environment installed, just double-click the .jar file that you downloaded.


08/11/2007 08:36:42 PM · #21
Originally posted by Mick:

Originally posted by kyebosh:

how the heck do you use that dark sky's program? I can't figure out how to get it to run.

From the Dark Sky Finder web page...

"The file that downloads is an executable Java JAR file. It requires the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) to be installed on your computer to be able to run. Most users simply need to double-click the file named DarkSky.jar. If this does not work, you may have to use a command-line such as a Unix “xterm” or the Windows “Command Prompt”. In this case, type the following: java -jar DarkSky.jar"

IOW, if you have the Java Runtime Environment installed, just double-click the .jar file that you downloaded.


Hey Mick, since we're seeing you on this thread. Scarbrd and I going to try to view/shoot the meteors at about midnight-1:00AM from either the Women's Forum or the Vista House. Just thought I'd pass that on in case you were a night owl.
08/12/2007 02:58:03 AM · #22
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

Hey Mick, since we're seeing you on this thread. Scarbrd and I going to try to view/shoot the meteors at about midnight-1:00AM from either the Women's Forum or the Vista House. Just thought I'd pass that on in case you were a night owl.

I'm sorry, but I can't. We took some friends boating yesterday and again today and now I'm beat. Plus, we have to get up early tomorrow for the air show.

According to DarkSky, there's a location close to our home that should have good viewing. Becky and I plan to give that a try tomorrow night.

Thanks for asking though, and I hope you get some good shots.

08/12/2007 03:33:50 AM · #23
We took the shorter route and went to Cape Horn on the Washington side. It was a bust though. The cloud cover was mainly probably 75%. It was quite dark though. I did see one shooting star.

I may try again tomorrow if it's clear.
08/12/2007 05:18:01 PM · #24
Just shot the International space station and shuttle along with 2 faint meteors :)
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08/12/2007 07:36:40 PM · #25
Originally posted by marbo:

Just shot the International space station and shuttle along with 2 faint meteors :)
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Just curious, what's the exposure info for that shot?

June
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