Photographing the 2015 Perseid Meteor Shower
2015 Perseid Meteor Shower
Above photo taken August 13th, 2015 – 12:22am
About the Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseid meteor shower is traditionally the most spectacular and most-reliable show of the year. The evening of August 12th through the morning of August 13th is the peak time for sky watchers.
Before all else, the biggest factor in a successful image (or viewing) of the Perseid meteor shower for 2015 is dark skies! This means getting away from the bright city lights that wash out the night sky, and prevent us from seeing all but the brightest of meteoroids. An unobstructed view of the North-Eastern sky and overhead is also ideal. This year’s display could be the best since 2010 due to that fact that we have the advantage of having a moonless sky. Experts predict anywhere from 75-100 meteoroids per hour at its peak under the right conditions! Realistically, you can expect to see a streak of light every few minutes or so.
Photographing the 2015 Perseid Meteor shower
While in manual mode on your DSLR, try setting a slow enough shutter speed to increase your chances of a meteor streak, but not so slow that the stars begin to trail themselves. I prefer to have pinpoint stars with the streaking meteor blazing through them. For the photo above, I used a shutter speed of 20 seconds, an ISO of 1600, with my lens aperture set to F4. Keep in mind that I was away from city light pollution.
I sat next to my tripod and continuously pressed the shutter button for a period of about one hour (fun eh!?) in hopes of catching a real burner. An automatic timer or camera control through a laptop would make things much easier. Just look at what is possible when you have the right equipment, conditions, and creativity:
|Perseid Meteor Shower photo by Kenneth Brandon|
The meteor shower occurs when earth travels through a debris-stream of comet particles, in this case, Comet Swift-Tuttle. The reason this annual meteor shower is called “The Perseids” is that the “shooting stars” appear to originate from a single point (or radiant) in the constellation of Perseus.
The best part about meteor showers is that you don’t need any optical aids like binoculars or telescopes to enjoy them, just your eyes. Okay, a lawn chair might come in handy, so make sure you have one of those! Most importantly, make a night of it with friends or family! Enjoy the excitement of the 2015 Perseid Meteor Shower, and watching the night sky light up with each other.