Its that time of year again! I plan to be outside this weekend photographing the star show and meteor shower. Hoping for clear, dark skies on Saturday night. Camping out to capture and enjoy the show!
Photographing the Perseid Meteor Shower
For viewing and photographing the The Perseid Meteor Shower, look for the constellation Perseus in the Northeastern sky. Even though the show has already begun, the event will peak this coming Saturday night, Sunday morning, August 11-12.
The Perseids should be a spectacular event because the Moon is in its waning crescent phase, so the light reflecting off its lunar surface should not interfere with the meteors traveling across our night sky at about 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour). The actual peak for the Perseids is estimated to be 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, August 12, 2012.
You can see the meteors any time before this date, as they have been flying across the sky since about July 23rd. And they will remain visible until August 22. The meteors within the Perseid meteor shower are material from the Swift-Tuttle comet, which has a 130-year orbit around the Sun.
Moonrise: August 11, 1:00am
Moonrise: August 12, 1:47am
Moonrise: August 13, 2:48am
Photographing the Milky Way
For the Milky Way, find a south facing low mountain or ridgeline, wait until the sky is truly dark, and let your eyes get accustomed to it by hanging out in your lounge chair for about an hour to really see the stars. The Milky Way will be visible in the Southern Sky and the best time for the star show is during the new moon or approaching the new moon. This month the new moon is August 17. Maybe time lapse photo experiments are a great way to make use of your old 35mm or 50mm prime lenses.
- Frame your photograph really wide angle to include lots of the sky.
- Turn off EVERYTHING that is set for AUTO, including focus and Image stabilization.
- Shut off all noise reduction, and white balance.
- Shoot RAW if possible, or high res jpeg
- Focus at or near infinity.
- Set your aperture for the widest lens opening or next widest.
- Set your shutter speed for about 20-25 seconds.
- Choose the interval you prefer and set your interval timer, try 6-10 seconds, but if there are clouds, try 1-5 second intervals.
- Set your ISO for 3200-6400.
- Most time lapse Milky way images are about 5-8 hours. Keep in mind the moonrise if necessary.
The video below was photographed over a few days in 2010. Photographer, Henry Jun Wah Lee, posted this exposure information.
Timelapse video of the Perseid Meteor Shower and the galactic core of the Milky Way as seen from Joshua Tree National Park.
These were taken between August 12 and August 15, 2010.
For more photos and words: photography.evosia.com/2010/08/13/under-the-milky-way-in-joshua-tree-national-park/
Gear: 5D Mk II, EF 16-35mm L. Settings: f/2.8, 6400 ISO, 20 second exposures.
Music is Samskeyti by Sigur Ros