Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid meteor shower was upon us again. With the horrible weather we have had lately, I didn’t expect to have a chance to view or shoot it. I was pleasently surprised as the peek drew closer that the forecast was showing mostly clear skies, though temperatures were in the 90’s and humidity in the upper 90’s!

I decided despite the bright Moon and having work, to go for it. They predicted this would be an outburst with more than normal expected. I staged all of my gear at the front door, set my alarm for 1am with the plan to arrive to my dark site right at Moon set, around 1:30AM. My alarm went off, and as per normal, I debated if it was worth it. I decided with all the bad weather I needed to take this chance to get under some clear star covered skies.

I packed the car, covered myself in bug spray and headed out. There were a small handful of people at my top secret (public boat ramp) dark site. Not surprising as last year when I went out, there was a photography club there shooting the meteors. This year I actually ran into one of the photographers who was there last year. With the dew covering my windshield and keeping my lights off as to not ruin everyone’s shots and night vision I stopped short of my intended spot as to not accidentally run anyone over.

My camera and lenses became soaked with dew the second I opened the camera bag. Lesson learned, focus before heading out to a dark site and tape the lens. I was wise enough to bring my dew heater with me, but it took a few minutes to clear the lens. But focus was achieved and settings were, well, set.

I had the camera clicking away and I grabbed my chair to look up into the stars and watch the show. Sadly even my dark site isn’t very dark, but I was able to see a few shoot across the sky. It was nice to just be under the stars again.

Then it happened. 10 minutes or so after I had set the camera, a bright flash of light. I could clearly see the green and purple in the flash. I shouted out in excitement when I saw the flash, but what happened next was even more exciting. The meteor flashed and turned to gas! I could see vivid color in the gas as it dissipated into the air. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. Then, I realized that was in the general part of the sky that my camera was shooting. I wanted to rush to the camera and see if I had captured it. But I didn’t want to miss anything else by messing with the camera. It was killing me not knowing!
Well, obviously it was, or else I wouldn’t bother posting about! I was thrilled scanning through my images to see I had indeed captured it.

I did a process of the frame with the bright meteor, and made a video sequence of the event which you find below. It was 9 images at 15 seconds each. The video is played at 30 FPS, so it’s fairly short, but it’s in a 40 second loop. It’s best viewed in HD.

This was captured with a Canon T3i, a Sigma 18-55mm lens at 18mm f2.8 ISO 800.