13-August-2012

Perseid Meteor Shower.

I know that I said that I was going to go out to get more images of Clearwing Hummingbird moths, but the sky was finally clear last night and I had an opportunity to view the Perseid Meteor Shower. I set up two cameras on the back deck — a D4 with a 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye and a D800 with a 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens. Each was set to take 30 sec images (ISO 400, f/2.8). With the D800 and 14-24 lens I took the time to take a set of images to find out where I got the best focus for stars at infinity. For the 16 mm fisheye lens I just used infinity on the lens. This was a mistake. The images I got with the 14-24 lens where I spent the time to test the focus were a lot better, especially with the 32 MB sensor on the D800.

The first image below is a single exposure with a meteor trail using the D800 & 14-24 mm lens. I really don’t understand the physics of other images on the internet of the Perseid Meteor Shower that show long exposures of the night sky (1-6 hours) that show multiple meteor trails where both the stars and the ground/landscape don’t move.

I have included several ~1 hour star trail images that are composites of the 30 second images (using the Startrails.exe program). The sky in New Jersey is not that dark, and the glow in the bottom of the image is the light from Princeton and Trenton. If you look close, several do show 1 or more meteor trails that were visible in New Jersey.

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Perseid Meteor Trail. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Perseid Meteor Trail. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)

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Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 2113h and 2200h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 2113h and 2200h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

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Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 2200h and 2300h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 2200h and 2300h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

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Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 2300h and 2400h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 2300h and 2400h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

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Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 0000h and 0100h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 0000h and 0100h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

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Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 0100h and 0200h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 0100h and 0200h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

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Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 0200h and 0313h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Summer Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of images taken between 0200h and 0313h with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests in photography include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes, and seascapes. I have traveled to over 50 countries over the last 10 years, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on a home renovation project and expanding my wildflower garden/meadow.

One thought on “13-August-2012”

  1. Cool stuff. Never have tried star trail photography, but I did finally buy a 14-24 lens. I’m headed to Utah on Sep-14, and hope to give it a workout. I’m going to try to get a pass to shoot the Wave.
    Jim

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