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Thread: Perseids meteor showers

  1. #1
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Perseids meteor showers

    Is anyone planning to observe /photograph this year's Perseids meteor showers - visible between July 17- Aug 24 but peaking on nights August 12/13 and 13/14?

    https://www.timeanddate.com/astronom...b-meteor_times … interactive guide to visibilities

    https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astr...meteor-shower/ … basic guide to photography

    I've not tried to photograph the Perseid meteor showers previously but will make a few reconnaissance trips to a local dark sky location prior to the 'peak' nights.

    The actual meteor trails are random and largely unpredictable phenomena each likely lasting less than one second … but providing the camera is pointed towards Perseus and a wide angle lens is used, by playing the % (i.e. taking a few hundred photos), a few meteor trail photos should result.

    Plan is to experiment w/c 5 Aug with a few dummy runs using cameras' built-in intervalometers, to take a series of 'several seconds' exposures at full aperture and at high ISO settings. Once the 'sweet spot' exposures are established prior to the peaking days, the plan on the 'peaking night' is to let the cameras run automatically using their intervalometers, for 2 or 3 hours … taking e.g. 200 and more consecutive exposures of several seconds … in the hope that by using two cameras, each operating at different sequenced times, 400 or more exposures will capture a few 'meteor trails' … but expecting most of the frames just to show stars, planes and satellites . No astro tracking required and if using e.g. 4 to 8 second exposures, no star trailing (as distinct from meteor trails) will be visible.

    The dummy runs should establish the usable ISO settings; no AF necessary; lens at full aperture will be pre-focused to infinity and shutter speed will be manually pre-set. The above Sky and Telescope link recommends experimenting with ISO 1600 and exposures of 10, 15 and 30 seconds at full aperture … using a wide angle lens. I'm planning to use ISO 6400 and 12800 i.e. 3 or 4 stops faster … to hopefully enable shutter speeds of 2, 4 and 8 seconds … one of which will hopefully give the 'sweet spot' exposure. The reason to not exceed e.g. 8 seconds is to keep the camera cool and avoid overheating with longer exposures over the planned 200 ish sequential exposures taken by each camera. With the cameras' built-in intervalometers set to 15 seconds, 180 (ish) exposures per hour will be possible. This is all theoretical and will likely have to modify the plan … but hopefully by 12 August will have gained sufficient experience to obtain some decent photos on the 'peak night(s)'. Cameras will of course be set up on tripods and will require spare batteries. The actual meteors are not 'meteorites' i.e. they will not hit the Earth's surface … the tiny particles vaporise and destroy themselves when they hit the upper atmosphere ... and it's their vaporisation 'heat trails' which result in the 'shooting stars'.

    I have a choice of 3 cameras which each have built-in intervalometers:

    Nikon 1 J5 with 10mm lens (FF equiv. 27mm) … not sure is its high ISO is usable at 12800 but worth a try
    Panasonic GH-3 with Samyang 7.5mm fisheye … not sure is its high ISO is usable at 12800 but worth a try
    Leica SL 601 with Leica R 19/2.8 … ISO 12800 is usable

    Also have a Sony A7SII which has the best low light capability e.g. usable ISO 50000 .. but does not have a built-in intervalometer … investigating using third party intervalometer.

    Not too bothered about potential 'noise' and 'grain'; DXO Pro software is pretty good for improving 'noisy' images

    Also plan to acquire a 12V battery operated camper's hair dryer … to if necessary, blow warm air onto the camera lens to counter 'dew'

    dunk


    EDIT: Some of above 'advice' is incorrect … hence crossed through … Please refer to Post 17 and video therein for better methodology

    Apologies for insufficient research prior to posting

    dunk
    Last edited by sundial; 7th August 2018 at 00:18.
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

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    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    I look forward to seeing what exposure settings you decide on, and also the results. Kudos for having the patience to do the required work to find the settings needed to get said results!

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    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    I look forward to seeing what exposure settings you decide on, and also the results. Kudos for having the patience to do the required work to find the settings needed to get said results!
    Today ordered the intervalometer for the Sony A7SII which is best suited to the project ref its excellent 'very high ISO capable' imaging . If the A7SII works OK I may not experiment with the Nikon J5. Last year I negotiated use of a new dark sky astro observing location for P'bor Astronomical Society and on the 'peak Perseid' nights, some members will be observing there … so requires some experimentation beforehand to determine the optimum camera settings. All very weather dependent but hopefully over a 3 hour period 23.00 to 02.00hrs there will be a few breaks in the clouds if overcast. I've used the A7SII at ISO 50000 with good results.

    The Perseids are a 'naked eye observing ' astro phenomenon but will also be observing them via ultra-widefield Galilean binoculars https://okularum.eu/Kasai_Widebino28 … which are very similar to the more well known Vixen wide field binos https://www.firstlightoptics.com/all...inoculars.html

    dunk
    Last edited by sundial; 29th July 2018 at 21:33.
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  4. #4
    Dunk, I used to observe them in my home town and I recall the best way to observe them was lying on a flat chair and looking to the sky. Too unpredictable to use binoculars...


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  5. #5
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angeche View Post
    Dunk, I used to observe them in my home town and I recall the best way to observe them was lying on a flat chair and looking to the sky. Too unpredictable to use binoculars...


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    Not so with ultra-wide Galilean binoculars … which have a larger FOV than the naked eye. which not only have an exceptionally wide FOV, but which for faint astro phenomena, also enable a 1.5x increase in magnitude. I'll be laying on a flat garden recliner with the Galilean bino eyepieces against my eyes … and my camera(s) will fitted with wide angle lenses to hopefully capture all that's happening during the exposures activated by the intervalometer(s).

    dunk

    Edited … they do not in fact have a wider field of view than the human eye but they make better use of the what the eye can see by improving the fainter phenomena's brightness (magnitude) in the galilean bino's wide field of view … more so than when observing with regular wide field binoculars.
    Last edited by sundial; 30th July 2018 at 22:00.
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    Not so with ultra-wide Galilean binoculars … which have a larger FOV than the naked eye. I'll be laying on a flat garden recliner with the Galilean bino eyepieces against my eyes …

    dunk
    I was totally unaware that such wide field binoculars exist, Dunk. Thanks for the info...


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  7. #7
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angeche View Post
    I was totally unaware that such wide field binoculars exist, Dunk. Thanks for the info...


    Sent from my iPad using TZ-UK mobile app

    I was incorrect in stating the binos enable a wider FOV than is possible with the human eye … hence above EDIT

    But the FOV is exceptionally wide and should enable comfortable observation of meteor trails (shooting stars)

    dunk
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  8. #8
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    Did you get any pictures dunk?

  9. #9
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartynJC (UK) View Post
    Did you get any pictures dunk?
    Have not started yet … commencing later this week …but a friend managed to record one Perseid meteorite during his test exposures

    dunk
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  10. #10
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    I may go up to my local airfield with the D810 and 17-35mm and set it up this evening - lovely warm 22C expected tonight!

  11. #11
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    Saw 5 last night, the sky was naff until after 11.00pm, about 15 satellites and what I think was an Iridium flash in Lyra, then it turned chilly and I went to bed to warm up a bit.

    Is Heavens-Above not active any more?

    gadget

  12. #12
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  13. #13
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    According to the late H J P Arnold who was one of the world’s leading astrophotographers:

    “ Although may seem surprising, it's not advisable to centre the (meter shower) radiant in the camera’s FOV. If centred, any meteorites are observed head-on or nearly so and as very short trails. Meteor specialists advise pointing camera at 50º elevation to horizon and & from 30º to 45º to one side of the radiant … 30º likely to yield greater chance of capturing fireballs (larger meteors)

    dunk
    Last edited by sundial; 7th August 2018 at 00:15.
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

  14. #14
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angeche View Post
    I was totally unaware that such wide field binoculars exist, Dunk. Thanks for the info...


    Sent from my iPad using TZ-UK mobile app
    A couple of links to examples of same: Kinglux & Sky Rover...there must be others (and they may be cheaper).

    Searching on www.cloudynights.com using terms like ultra-wide, deep-sky and names of manufacturrers will turn up more info.

  15. #15
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    got one >>>>

    D810
    AF-S Nikon 18-35mm @ 20mm
    20sec @ f2.8 exposure


  16. #16
    Master inspector gadget's Avatar
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    Saw a fireball go overhead at 22:41 tonight, anyone get a picture?

  17. #17
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Camera positioning for optimising Perseid meteor trail observation / photography

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sabBUo71hz0

    … scroll forward to 12.42 for specific info ref the Perseids' RADIANT … and how to compose potential images i.e. by not including Perseus in the centre of the frame

    Some of my preconceived 'ideas' in the OP are / were incorrect so will be modifying my technique as per this video and H J P Arnold's advice

    dunk
    Last edited by sundial; 7th August 2018 at 00:24.
    "… but the greatest gift the railways give to us is the proper treatment of time." John Betjeman , BBC Home Service radio broadcast 4 July 1940.

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