Leonid meteor shower!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by W.Smith, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    It's that time of the year again. Tonight, and the next 3/5 days (nights!) Earth will be passing through the Leonid meteor cloud, resulting in thousands of shooting stars.

    If it doesn't rain, it's not overcast and if you're in a really dark spot (avoid 'light pollution'), you can make pix like this:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/37/1966_leonids_big.gif
     
  2. oldnavy170

    oldnavy170 TPF Noob!

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    Wow....you took that?!!!! That is just the coolest photo. I love what you were able to capture....stars, shooting stars!!!! Did you use a tripod?
     
  3. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    No, that's the pic from Wikipedia.
    Yes, you need a tripod as exposure times run into the minutes.
     
  4. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reminder - I'm curious if it's possible to capture with regular equipment. If I'm in a dark place and I expose for just a few seconds I don't see any stars... and a few seconds is all these meteors show for each time... and they don't appear brighter than stars, so will they show up in my exposure? I'm curious and I'll try it if the weather clears up in Ottawa next night or two.

    Any tried this with "normal" (non-NASA) equipment? I'd love to see some shots.

    Dewey
     
  5. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    After motivating myself I searched and I think you can cath them, but you'll have images like this one:

    http://www.spaceweather.com/meteors/images/18nov00/raymundo1.jpg

    Also it looks like the peak is next week... (from the AP)
    "On the evening of November 18th and into the following morning, the Earth will pass through the densest field of dust and tiny debris left by the passing of comet Swift-Tuttle. It has produced spectacular showers in the past. In 1966, Leonid shower produced as many as 40 meteors per second, or 144-thousand per hour, over the American Southwest."

    Still cool... I gotta try it - now the dang clouds just need to clear :angry1: :mrgreen:
     
  6. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    Look again at the Leonid picture above. You see 2 things: 9 linear streaks and 100 to 200 tiny arcs. The streaks are the shooting stars, the meteors. But the tiny arcs are the stars and them being little arcs shows you that it's a time exposure. The Earth turns and so the stars seem to be moving.
    I'm guessing this exposure was between 5 and 10 minutes. The Leonids just 'passed through' during that exposure and so were 'caught' by the camera.

    So, to get the photo above, the photog probably set up his gear, then made one 10-minute-exposure after another, as many as possible, for hours on end. And he checked all those later for any Leonids that may have shot through. Until he found this one.
     
  7. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    Sure I understand all that - my point was that they only appear for a few seconds... not enough to really make an "impression" on film or a digital sensor. I think the photo I linked to is a more realistic of what you'll get.

    I understand the photo you posted is not yours, so don't take offense, but I don't think you can get meteor pics like that with regular equipment... they just don't put out enough light. If you look at the photo the fat "meteor" streak is yellowish... not something you'll capture on film with a meteor shower - it looks like a NASA computer enhanced image to me.

    I'm looking forward to trying!
     
  8. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    They don't? Wait until you see the Leonids.
     
  9. oldnavy170

    oldnavy170 TPF Noob!

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    I was just wondering if you have any suggestions on settings if I were to try a shot like this?
     
  10. W.Smith

    W.Smith TPF Noob!

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    I'd try ISO 400, f/5.6, 10 minutes, with a 50mm or 85mm focal length. Then check for those little arcs and adjust if neccessary.
    But you need to be in a really dark place. With no spillover of street lights or neon signs or anything really. So preferably an open spot deep inside the woods. Or a small, deep valley, far away from roads and built-up areas.
     
  11. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If a photo was not taken by yourself, it can only be linked to the forum, but not posted as it is - it too easily gives off the idea that you are the author of that photo, and you clearly aren't.
     
  12. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    The Leonids can be spectacular.

    I always shoot with a prime lens and a manual focus 35mm.

    Use 800 speed film and shoot at f2.8 to f5.6 or wide open and infinity focus.

    Bracket...bracket...bracket...did I mention bracket your shots.

    For comets and constellations I like a 180mm f2.8. For meteor showers a 28mm f2.8 or 50mm f1.4/8 stopped to f2.8 will do well.

    Inform your photolab that you have astrophotography shots...in fact custom lab work is better.

    You can do all of this with a DSLR but you need more than 1 battery.

    LWW
     

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