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Imaging Meteor Showers.


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I know this has been discussed before, but i feel it is a very important thing to discuss since the Persied meteor shower is not too far off.

Many new members may want to try to photograph the Persieds, so what advice can you offer to them?

Exposure times.ISO settings etc.

My best adfvise is just to go outside and observe this meteor shower with the naked eye.

BUT we all love to capture an image or two.

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I've always just observed visually before, but now I have an Astrotrac, i intend to just leave a camera imaging whilst tracking, pointing as near the Zenith as practical with the radiant just off the field of view, with an 18mm stock lens on my Canon 500D.

I was going to stop the lens down a couple of stops and go for 30 second exposures at whatever ISO doesn't blow the image out - I guess 800

I also would appreciate anyone's advice who has been there - done that...

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I think it's a fairly simple principle as mentioned, use the widest lens you have and point it towards the radiant and keep shooting.

I think what settings to use you really need to experiment first to suit your location and lens, as Rob said you don't want your exposure to be too blown out and if you don't want trailing stars then you need to match the exposure to your lens.

Roughly something like 30 seconds for an 18mm and 8 seconds for 50mm and so on and then set your ISO from there.

Like Rob I want to use the Polarie in the same fashion but to be honest I know the LP is pretty bad here so exposures are going to be limited and iso will be low, I don't think there is much point in using an LP filter but maybe changing the white balance will help or possibly using a custom white balance?

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Good read in the sky at night mag, they say 18-35mm lens angle camera 60degree iso 3200 30s exposure shoot continuous

GOOD LUCK

you would need a very dark site to shoot 30secs @ 3200 even assuming an aperture of f4 the sky and lp will just burn out

Personally I'll be shooting with a fisheye and 24mm both set around f4 and then adjust the ISO to give me 30 second exposures, at my location that means the ISO will be around 800. The fisheye will be on a tripod, the 24mm tracking on an eq6

All noise reduction functions will be turned off to ensure I have the minimum gap between frames. I'll shoot 20 dark frames while I'm setting up to apply to any images I get during the night

All the above assumes I can see the sky rather than clouds or rain

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Kev, many thanks was looking at a new f1.8 lens, just saved me pounds.

I guess its just trail an error, might go out the night before for a tester

a f1.8 lens is a good investment. Most lens have a sweet spot when stopped down 1 or 2 stops from wide open

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jarrod, noticed you have a vixen polarie, may you give me your honest views on it please and have you got the basic kit or the all singing and dancing one, many thanks

Personally I love it, I just wish I had more chance to use it under dark skies.

I have a thread here about it.... http://stargazerslou...rie-on-the-way/ it's not the best thread and I really should do more testing with it but it does exactly what is says it does very well and if I can use it anyone can.

At first I just got the unit itself and later I got given the polarscope as a birthday gift but haven't had a chance to use it yet. The kit seems a bit excessive, you can cut your costs by sourcing your own tripod and ball heads with a bit of creative shopping.

I'll shoot 20 dark frames while I'm setting up to apply to any images I get during the night

I was wondering about this, do you apply all 20 darks to a single light or do you still take multiple light frames and stack them?

Edited by Pibbles
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Take the 20 darks, combine them (average or median etc) and subtract the resulting master from each light frame

Regards

Rob

yup, they can be used to reduce noise on single or multiple images. Also I would tend to target the area 45-90 degrees south of the radiant up around 60 degrees to reduce alot of the ground effect light pollution. If you target the radiant then you will see any meteors 'head on' rather than sideways on to see more of the trails

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I've just been looking at Saturday midnight on the 11th on Starry Night. By pointing a camera with a wide angle lens due East and angled up at 60-70 degrees you will get the Milky Way across the camera diagonal.

Its probably not the best viewing direction but it would be nice to see meteors crossing the belt :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

As with many other, I am looking forward to the start of the season with the meteor shower and have had a look at the photobykev website which has given me some great tips thanks.

I was wondering though, what work needs to be done to the pictures with meteors in them? I am still very new to astro photography and processing but thought this would be a good opportunity to get my hands dirty so to speak.

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I've just been looking at Saturday midnight on the 11th on Starry Night. By pointing a camera with a wide angle lens due East and angled up at 60-70 degrees you will get the Milky Way across the camera diagonal.

Its probably not the best viewing direction but it would be nice to see meteors crossing the belt :)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk. Blame Apple for the typos and me for the content

If its clear i think i'll give that a go.

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As with many other, I am looking forward to the start of the season with the meteor shower and have had a look at the photobykev website which has given me some great tips thanks.

I was wondering though, what work needs to be done to the pictures with meteors in them? I am still very new to astro photography and processing but thought this would be a good opportunity to get my hands dirty so to speak.

I cant say that i have caught many meteors (1 at my last count). I opened the image in a graphics package (whatever one you may have) and i just played around with the auto levels (contrast,brightness,shaprness,fluorecent light) etc. Didnt do much to improve theimage though.

From my location i have found ISO 800 and 8-10s exposures to work best for giving me a dark sky background with bright stars in it, so i'll be sticking to this format. I guess i could do 30s exposures and get rid of the orange glow in post-processing.

TOP TIP:

Make sure your camera battery is charged and if you have a spare one thats even better.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I cant say that i have caught many meteors (1 at my last count). I opened the image in a graphics package (whatever one you may have) and i just played around with the auto levels (contrast,brightness,shaprness,fluorecent light) etc. Didnt do much to improve theimage though.

From my location i have found ISO 800 and 8-10s exposures to work best for giving me a dark sky background with bright stars in it, so i'll be sticking to this format. I guess i could do 30s exposures and get rid of the orange glow in post-processing.

TOP TIP:

Make sure your camera battery is charged and if you have a spare one thats even better.

Thanks Paul, when the nights have been good my test shots have produced the same conclusions as you iso 800 at 10 sec's.

still trying to decide what lens to use 18,35,50mm any thoughts on this???

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Just having a practise tonight with my camera on an eq6 and seen 3 probables in 10 minutes and one odd one going SE. No idea if I've got them on the camera as its still shooting :)

ISS is due over at 23:02 going W to E and reaching 30 degrees altitude

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I had to quit after 23:15 because of cloud but I caught some meteors and satilittes. During the 35 minutes of photographing I noticed a few things.

I shot at iso800 15 secs @ f4 on a 5D mkii and 24mm f1.4 lens for the whole period. Before 23:00 I wasn't clipping the black level and had a slight blue colour to the background, after that the exposure was clipping the black and reducing the detail I could capture.

I think next time I won't start shooting until after 23:00 and will increase the exposure by at least a stop, probably opening the lens to f2.8 and increasing the exposure to around 20 seconds which will capture more stars and hopefully fainter meteors and avoid black clipping when fully dark.

I was also surprised to see 2 satillites moving S to N visible almost horizon to horizon, not as bright as the iss but clearly visible to the naked eye.

Also it was surprising damp, some form of dew control should be considered

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk. Blame Apple for the typos and me for the content

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