Perseid Meteor Report

Night Sky over Home Lake, Lamoni Iowa. 4:59 AM, August 13, 2019. The Big Dipper is just above the trees at the lower left.

Sometimes things work out just great. Sometimes not so much. I saw two Perseid meteors this morning, neither of which made it on to film. One happened at Location 1 while I was setting up. The other happened in between frames at Location 2.

When doing this kind of photography I take 30 second exposures, one after the other. As soon as the shutter closes at the end of one long exposure I click the shutter button and start another 30 second exposure. But Mother Nature can be fickle and the meteor shows up in that one second gap in between frames. So I did not think I captured a single meteor with my camera.

But when I opened the photos on my computer, I discovered I captured at least seven meteors too faint to see with the naked eye.  In the full frame shot at the top of this article you can see the stars in the sky and you can faintly see the Milky Way fading in the pre-dawn light. You can’t see the meteor in this web sized version, but you can in a full size blow up.

Perseid Meteor over Home Lake, Lamoni Iowa. Cropped from the original image. The two brightest stars on the left are the “Pointer Stars” in the Big Dipper.

The image immediately above is a 100% magnification (“actual pixels”) closeup of just a small part of the sky from just above the trees in the lower left area of the full frame shot. You can see the faint meteor toward the top and the light of a distant plane at the bottom. This is nothing like the bright fireball of a meteor I captured a year ago.

This image has a fair amount of digital noise at ISO 3200, but you can see tens of thousands of stars in this image that you can’t see with the naked eye.

It is not too late to photograph the Perseid Meteor Shower. You have another week or so, although each successive night there will be less and less meteors.

Photo Data: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 15mm semi-fisheye lens. f/4, 30 seconds, ISO 3200.


How to See and Photograph the Perseid Meteor Shower