Have you ever caught a shooting star? With the Delta Aquariid meteor shower culminating this Wednesday night and the more productive Perseid meteor shower in August, now is an excellent time to find and photograph “shooting stars”;.
Know that meteor showers tend to intensify after midnight when your position is firmly on the night side of the Earth, but clear skies are just as important.
Here’s everything you need to know how to catch a shooting star or two.
When is the Delta Aquariid meteor shower?
It happens from July 12 to August 23, when the Delta Aquariid meteor shower peaks in the early morning hours on Wednesday, July 29. It’s one of the longest running meteor wounds of all, with some of the slowest moving “shooting stars” – at a steady pace of 26 miles / 41 kilometers per second. However, you can look at a few nights around the day and see so many shooting stars, so now is the time to start photographing her. Expect about 10-20 “shooting stars” per hour.
Wednesday to Thursday will also culminate in smaller meteor showers, Alpha Capricornids, which can add five “shooting stars” per hour to the mix.
When is the Perseid meteor shower?
The peak nights for the Perseids, the most famous summer meteor showers in 2020, are the nights Tuesday 11 August to Wednesday 12 August and Wednesday 12 August to Thursday 13 August, although a few nights on both sides are almost as good,
However, the Perseids run from July 17 to August 24, so you can see them right now. Expect about 60 “shooting stars” per hour.
The equipment you need to photograph a meteor shower
You will need a manual SLR or SLR camera to capture meteors. The most important thing is the manual camera, which allows you to manually control the focus, ISO, aperture and shutter speed; you will shoot images with a long exposure of up to 30 seconds.
You also need a relatively wide-angle lens to capture as much of the night sky as possible and a sturdy tripod to keep the camera in a stable position. A locking cable that can be locked is also very useful.
How to photograph a meteor shower
You need a clear, dark night. If it’s cloudy, forget about it – this technique won’t work. The easiest way to capture shooting stars is to assemble a picture of the night sky – preferably something nicely composed with an interesting foreground (barn, building, tree, mountain …), but this is not necessary. After arranging the image and taking test shots until you are satisfied, simply set the camera to take the same photo over and over again. You can even “set and forget” and go back inside to go back an hour or two and pick up the SD card.
are u not looking for a bright white line – it’s an airplane or a satellite. You also won’t get many “shooting stars” for one photo unless you’re very lucky.
Your goal is to photograph something similar:
Camera settings for shooting a meteor shower
Here are some principles to keep in mind; Use them as a reference value for experimentation, as the environment and lighting levels you shoot from will be very important:
- Adjust the lens to infinity.
- Use a wide angle lens (about 18 mm works well).
- Set the aperture to approximately f2.8 (or the lowest number possible), select ISO 800 or ISO 1600, and use a shutter speed of approximately 25-30 seconds.
- Always shoot in both RAW and JPEG formats.
- Shoot the same shot 200 times.
- Do not turn on any lights while shooting.
- Do not touch or kick the tripod while shooting.
Being away from any sources of light or urban light pollution is useful, but you should also be able to capture bright meteors from the city yard.
At the end of shooting, you can simply swipe the SD card on your computer to see if you have caught a “shooting star” in one of your shots.
How to make a “star trail” of a meteor shower
By creating 50-200 nearly identical shots of the night sky, you’ve also laid the groundwork for stellar photography (see above), so why not produce one of them – hopefully it will contain one or more “shooting stars?”
The free StarStaX software allows you to move all your photos into it, creating a nice image of a star. Upstairs is the type of photo you take, but be aware that you need to point the camera north to get concentric circles. This will work reasonably well for Perseids, although perhaps not for Delta Aquariids.
Observing “shooting stars” requires patience, but photographing them is actually quite simple.
I wish you clear skies and wide eyes.