Sunday (18-November-2012) — New Jersey

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

While processing through the images from the other night, I found three (maybe four) Leonid meteor trails in a star trail composite of 35 one minute exposures. The camera was facing south from my deck, and the sky was just starting to get light.

The Drobo disk array upgrade and data backups are finally complete (after almost three weeks). I can now start processing more images from my Fall 2012 Semester at Sea voyage, and the three-week trip to New Mexico and west Texas (including a week with the ANPAT 12 trip).

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)

Monday (12-November-2012) — New Jersey

Backyard Autumn Night Sky in New Jersey: Star Trails and Time-Lapse Video.

Last Night I tried to do some night sky photography. I had to give up after less than 3 hours as clouds moved in. With the images I had I did some star trail images, and a short time-lapsed video including the 15 minute star trail images.

Startrails Late Fall Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of 175 images taken with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/2.8, 60 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)
Startrails Late Fall Night Sky in New Jersey. Composite of 175 images taken with a Nikon D800 and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 14 mm, f/2.8, 60 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

Monday (13-August-2012) — New Jersey

Backyard Summertime Night Sky Over New Jersey.

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 Nikon D4 camera with a 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye and a Nikon D800 camera 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 camera 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 camera.

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.

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. Image taken with a Nikon D800 camera and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec). (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)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Composite of images taken between 2113h and 2200h with a Nikon D800 camera 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)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Composite of images taken between 2200h and 2300h with a Nikon D800 camera 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)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Composite of images taken between 2300h and 2400h with a Nikon D800 camera 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)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Composite of images taken between 0000h and 0100h with a Nikon D800 camera 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)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Composite of images taken between 0100h and 0200h with a Nikon D800 camera 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)
Startrails Looking For Perseid Meteors. Composite of images taken between 0200h and 0313h with a Nikon D800 camera and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 400, 14 mm, f/2.8, 30 sec) using the Startrails program. (David J Mathre)

Friday (17-February-2009) — New Jersey

Backyard Winter Night Sky in New Jersey: Star and Jet Trails.

I used a 16 mm Fisheye lens to take acquire some winter night sky images. The images were combined using the startrails.exe program to get the star trail images. The first image is a composite of 15 60 second images relatively early in the evening. The next three are composites of 16, 35, and 300 second (5 minute) images.

Winter Sky Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, f/2.8, 60 sec). Composite of 15 images processed with Startrails program. (David J. Mathre)
Winter Sky Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, f/2.8, 60 sec). Composite of 15 images processed with Startrails program. (David J. Mathre)
Winter Sky Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, f/2.8, 300 sec). Composite of 16 images processed with Startrails program. (David J. Mathre)
Winter Sky Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, f/2.8, 300 sec). Composite of 16 images processed with Startrails program. (David J. Mathre)
Winter Sky Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, f/2.8, 300 sec). Composite of 35 images processed with Startrails program. (David J. Mathre)
Winter Sky Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, f/2.8, 300 sec). Composite of 35 images processed with Startrails program. (David J. Mathre)
Winter Sky Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, f/2.8, 300 sec). Composite of 14 images processed with Startrails program. (David J. Mathre)
Winter Sky Star and Jet Trails. Image taken with a Nikon D700 and 16 mm f/2.8 fisheye lens (ISO 200, f/2.8, 300 sec). Composite of 14 images processed with Startrails program. (David J. Mathre)

Wednesday (04-January-2012) — New Jersey

Backyard Winter Night Sky in New Jersey: Star Trails and Quadranitids 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)