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  1. #1
    NHskywatcher's Avatar
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    Default Shooting a Meteor Shower



    Hi folks,

    I'm new to astrophotography and am wanting to take some shots of the upcoming Geminid meteor shower. Does anyone have any suggestions on ISO and aperture settings? I will be shooting in an area with very little light pollution.

    Thanks!
    NHskywatcher

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  3. #2
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    Default

    That's a good question. We have a shower coming up this week. If the skies permit, it should be a good one. Let me add a further question to yours. Is it better to point the camera at the radiant and get pictures head on that show us flying through space. Or is it better to turn the camera so we get pictures of meteors as they streak through the sky?
    Rob
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    Default

    Never did it myself yet, but had such an idea and tried to figure out how I would do to it.
    First - star tracking is a must - unless we have the shower coming at considerable angle or perpendicular to Earth's rotation. No telescope - it's definitely a wide field show. Focus distance of the lens would be just enough to cover the area of the sky where meteors come from (say, 200 mm). Full aperture - no stop. Michael A. Covington's calculator http://www.astronomyforum.net/downlo...?do=file&id=54 gives exposure value around 2 minutes with ISO 800, 17.5 Sky fog limit, town sky with 5th-magnitude stars visible. Good steady pole-aligned tracking mount should allow this. Alternatively, barn door tracker may be useful. To make a truly great shower photo one will need to take a few frames (keep tracking!) and run some stacking software to put them together. Post processing in Photoshop is a must - to cut the sky glow and to make the result looking more "real". Magellanic clouds, etc are likely to get in the way - unless one needs them.
    So, here are my two cent worth on the subject.
    Clear skies,
    Michael
    Last edited by mplanet62; 12-12-2010 at 12:20 PM.

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    Default

    I did it once about 30 years ago. Simply laid my 35mm SLR on its back with the shutter open and the lens pointing toward the heavens. Don't remember the details now. The film was most likely asa 400 as that was what I usually used but could have been something faster. The lens was a 55 mm lens with a focal ratio of 2.2 Exposure times were probably around 10 to 15 minutes. The site was dark, very dark before electricity came to the valley. I caught several. Don't see why you can't do the same with a DSLR.
    SXINIAS

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  7. #5
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    Default

    On a tripod ( no tracking ) point the camera at the area of inyerest ( Radiant ) try using a wide angle setting, helps with more sky coverage and longer exposure . Stop down the lens like to f4 or so , engage the shutter via trip cable and expose for thirty secs . Longer focal lenths ( 50mm + ) will mean shorted exposures. Hopefully you will catch a few whilst the shutter is open.

    Clear Skies

    Pete
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    I always seem to catch them when I don't want them.
    Thats how it works for me anyway.
    Ken

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  10. #7
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    Default

    Thanks for the helpful information! I am sad to say that the weather is expected to be much of the same as I am having today... mid 30's and pouring rain (at least during the peak of the shower). If the skies clear enough I'll try Canon Pete's ideas (since I don't have any equipment other than the camera and a tripod). The Ursid meteor shower peaks in my area on the 21st so I have a fallback, unfortunately the Geminids are supposed to be the best show of the season.

    Thanks again and I'll post what I come up with should I get anything worthwhile!
    NHskywatcher

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