Five-Years Ago (16-November-2012) — New Jersey

Backyard Autumn Night Sky in New Jersey: Star and Leonid Meteor Trails

The sky was clear so I put a couple of cameras out with wide-angle lenses to try to capture some Leonid meteor trails.

Late Fall Night Star Trails and Leonid Meteor Trails over New Jersey. Composite of 35 Images taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)
Late Fall Night Star Trails and Leonid Meteor Trails over New Jersey. Composite of 35 Images taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)


16-December-2012

Late Fall Night Sky Anomaly. Super-Nova or Geminid Meteor Comming at Me?

The sky was clear Thursday night. I had three cameras out to capture Geminid meteor trails. Friday night the sky was also clear, so stayed up again to capture any late Geminid meteor trails. After being up two nights in a row, I really needed to catch up on some sleep. When I started to review the images today, I found an anomaly in the star trail image between 2-3 AM Friday morning. The images for this composite were taken on a Nikon D4 with a 14-24 f/2.8 lens. I have trouble with condensation on this lens and this night was no different and because it was cold frost formed on the center on the lens. The result is that light getting to the center of the image is significantly attenuated. I didn’t expect to see anything in the center area because of the frost — but there was one bright star. The unusual star is actually brighter than Sirius. I went back and reviewed the individual images, and found that this “star” only appeared at 02:19 AM — not before and not after. I checked the images from the other two cameras. The D800 with a 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens covered the same space, and indeed it also captured the same anomaly. I didn’t see any news about a super-nova, so did I capture an image of a Geminid meteor coming right at me? Good thing that they burn up in the atmosphere!!

Late Fall 02:00 to 03:00 AM Sky Star Trail (with anomaly) in New Jersey. Composite of 60 Images taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8G lens (ISO 200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec) using Star Trails. (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:00 to 03:00 AM Sky Star Trail (with anomaly) in New Jersey. Composite of 60 Images taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8G lens (ISO 200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec) using Star Trails. (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:18 AM Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8G lens (ISO 200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:18 AM Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8G lens (ISO 200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:19 AM Sky (with anomaly) in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8G lens (ISO 200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:19 AM Sky (with anomaly) in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8G lens (ISO 200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:20 AM Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8G lens (ISO 200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:20 AM Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8G lens (ISO 200, 14 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:18 AM Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:18 AM Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:19 AM Sky (with anomaly) in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:19 AM Sky (with anomaly) in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:20 AM Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)
Late Fall 02:20 AM Sky in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/2.8, 59 sec). (David J Mathre)

Saturday (17-November-2012) — New Jersey

Backyard Autumn Night Sky in New Jersey: Leonid Meteor Trails

I had two cameras out all night last night. I did capture images of a few Leonid Meteors. I now need to put together some time-lapsed movies of the night sky. It is clear again tonight, so will try again with some different angles.

Late Fall Night Sky and Leonid Meteors Trail over New Jersey. Composite of two images taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)
Late Fall Night Sky and Leonid Meteors Trail over New Jersey. Composite of two images taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)
Late Fall Night Sky and Leonid Meteors Trail over New Jersey. Images taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)
Late Fall Night Sky and Leonid Meteors Trail over New Jersey. Images taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)
Late Fall Night Sky and Leonid Meteors Trail over New Jersey. Images taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)
Late Fall Night Sky and Leonid Meteors Trail over New Jersey. Images taken with a Nikon D4 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)
Late Fall Night Sky and Leonid Meteors Trail over New Jersey. Images taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)
Late Fall Night Sky and Leonid Meteors Trail over New Jersey. Images taken with a Nikon D800 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 100, 16 mm, f/2.8, 1 min). (David J. Mathre)

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)

04-January-2012

Winter Night Sky — Star Trails — Quadrantids Meteors.

The sky was clear last night so I set up two cameras to record the night sky. The SpaceWeather site reported that the Quadrantids meteor shower should peak in the early morning hours. The Nikon D3x with a 24 mm f/1.4G lens was set up to look north above my roof. I used an external power supply for this camera so I wouldn’t need to change batteries during the night. The second camera was a Nikon D3 with a 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens looking south. For both cameras, I used the MC-35 remote set for 59 second exposures, once a minute (the extra second is needed to transfer the image from the camera to the memory card). It was cold (getting down to 10° F), and I was glad that at least one camera was using an external power supply. I had to change the battery in the D3 every 2 hours, and even then it was so cold that the battery ran out before the time. The following are a meteor trail image and a time-lapsed video of everything from the night.

Quadrantids Meteor Trail. Night Sky Over New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/2, 59 sec). (David J. Mathre)
Quadrantids Meteor Trail. Night Sky Over New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 24 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/2, 59 sec). (David J. Mathre)

Saturday (26-November-2011) — New Jersey

Late Autumn Night Sky over New Jersey: Star Trails and Meteor Trails

Repeat from last night, but at ISO 400. Nikon 1 V1 camera with the 10 mm f/2.8 lens, and the following settings: ISO 400, manual exposure, 30 second exposure, f/2.8, focus infinity (Long exposure NR = off). I used the interval timer, but found that I needed to set the interval to 40 seconds because it takes ~10 seconds to transfer the image from the buffer to the memory card. This is unfortunate, since it leaves a gap if I tried to create stacked star trails (using the Star Trails program). I did manage to catch a few images of meteor trails. The meteor trails were distinct from the many jet trails. The first two were a pair, but faint, the third is caught in two images with the missing section due to the ~10 second delay between images. The late night and early morning images were combined to make a Night Sky time-lapsed video.

Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)

Friday (25-November-2011) — New Jersey

Late Autumn Night Sky over New Jersey: Meteor Trails and Time-lapsed Video

I wanted to see how the new Nikon 1 V1 camera performs doing night sky photography. I set up the camera with the 10 mm f/2.8 lens, and the following settings: ISO 100, manual exposure, 30 second exposure, f/2.8, focus infinity (Long exposure NR = off). I used the interval timer, but found that I needed to set the interval to 40 seconds because it takes ~10 seconds to transfer the image from the buffer to the memory card. This is unfortunate, since it would leave a gap if I tried to create stacked star trails (using the Star Trails program). I did manage to catch an image of a meteor trail early (5:28 AM) in the morning. The late night and early morning images were combined to make a Night Sky time-lapsed video.

Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)
Meteor Trail captured with a Nikon 1 V1 camera and 10 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 10 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (David J Mathre)

Today (18-November-2011) — New Jersey

Backyard Night Sky in New Jersey: Leonid Meteors

I had two cameras out monitoring the night sky with the hope of catching a Leonid Meteor. Two of the images had small meteor trails. A bit later there was something much brighter. I am not sure if it is a meteor, however it does not have parallel lights or regular strobe flashes like a jet trail. The other possibility would be a satellite trail. The curved trail is due to the fisheye lens. I used DxO to process the image to correct for the fisheye effect (4th/final image).

Late fall night sky over New Jersey with a Leonid Meteor. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 60 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro 6, Nik Define, Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Late fall night sky over New Jersey with a Leonid Meteor. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 60 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro 6, Nik Define, Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Late fall night sky over New Jersey with a Leonid Meteor. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 60 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro 6, Nik Define, Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Late fall night sky over New Jersey with a Leonid Meteor. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 60 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro 6, Nik Define, Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Late fall night sky over New Jersey with a Leonid Meteor. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 60 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro 6, Nik Define, Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Late fall night sky over New Jersey with a Leonid Meteor. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 60 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro 6, Nik Define, Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Late fall night sky over New Jersey with a Leonid Meteor. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 60 sec). Raw image processed with DxO Pro, Nik Define, Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)
Late fall night sky over New Jersey with a Leonid Meteor. Image taken with a Nikon D3 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, 16 mm, f/5.6, 60 sec). Raw image processed with DxO Pro, Nik Define, Photoshop CS5. (David J Mathre)

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14-August-2011

Perseid Meteor Time-Lapsed Video.

We had over 4 inches of rain today. I spent the time putting together a time-lapsed video from the two cameras I used to try to catch some meteor trails. The full moon, high humidity and clouds prevented viewing all but the brightest meteors.

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Perseid Meteor. Summer Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens (ISO 800, 24 mm, f/4, 29 sec). (David J Mathre)
Perseid Meteor. Summer Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 24 mm f/3.5 PC-E lens (ISO 800, 24 mm, f/4, 29 sec).