A Meteor in the Night Sky

by Greg Blaney August. 10, 2019 515 views

I saw on the news recently that the Perseid Meteor Shower was occurring in our area. The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The meteors are called the Perseids because the point from which they appear to hail lies in the constellation Perseus. They are one of the brighter meteor showers, occurring every year between July 17 and August 24. I decided to drive about 1/2 hour out of town to a beach called Island View Beach and try my luck at capturing a photo that would show a meteor. The beach is far enough away as to not be affected too much by the city lights. Although there were not many meteors to be seen, one did fly through my camera's field of view and the photo below is the result. This is a one hour exposure, showing the star trails and the meteor's streak of light in the upper part of the photo.

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Heike 2 years, 1 month ago

Fantastic photo, Greg! One hour exposure is really remarkable. I'm not good in astrophotography, I tried last year to get some pics from the blood-moon, but I wasn't very satisfied with them and I think a meteor shower is even a bigger challenge. Well done !!!

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Greg Blaney Replied to Heike 2 years, 1 month ago

I appreciate your compliments, Heike. I haven't done much with astrophotography either, so still feeling my way along. I studied up on the Live Composite feature in my camera before setting out, and I must confess that this photo was not taken on my first night out. It took a couple of nights, a bit of experimenting and a few attempts to get this shot. The rest of the photos? Well......they're sitting in my Recycle Bin!

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Bethany Plonski 2 years, 1 month ago

I love the way this turned out! Night photography is intimidating to me, but the results are always so interesting. Kudos to you for capturing a meteor with such style!

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Greg Blaney Replied to Bethany Plonski 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks Bethany. Yes, I was a little lucky to catch a meteor and in a pretty good spot from a composition point of view. Was hoping to get at least one more in the photo but I'll settle for this one smile

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Lee Santiva 2 years, 1 month ago

Hi Greg
that is _really_ helpful information because that‘s exactly what I am afraid of, of having too much light over one hour snd over exposure. I also have a mirrorless Fujifilm I‘ll check whether it does live composite that sounds exactly like what I would need. 
Tonight the forecast is for partly cloudy so maybe I‘ll just go for a short exposure of a few seconds based on where the clouds are
Thank you so much!

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Greg Blaney Replied to Lee Santiva 2 years, 1 month ago

You're welcome, Lee. The way to find Live Composite in my camera is to turn the shutter speed to the longer times, until you get to BULB and then past that. The final setting in shutter speed is Live Composite, at least in the Olympus camera. Good luck!

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Lee Santiva Replied to Greg Blaney 2 years, 1 month ago

Hi thought you might be interested in an update. Set alarm for 2:30, got up, went out on balcony, saw it was raining, went back to bed. oh well, better luck next year.
We live in an area with high light pollution so only when we travel to the mountains do I have a chance to capture stars. Was nice „meeting“ you this way.

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Greg Blaney Replied to Lee Santiva 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the update, Lee. Too bad about the rain, especially when you get up in the middle of the night!! I'm glad I went out a couple of nights ago. We've got cloud and rain here too and it would have been pointless if I waited for the weekend. I'll "Friend" you and then keep an eye out for photos from your future adventures smile

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Lee Santiva 2 years, 1 month ago

Hey Greg I love it! I want to capture the meteor or a starry sky this weekend. you said you had long exposure of one hour? How come the ETIF shows 1 second? I‘ve never done an exposure over 1 minute so I cannot imagine one hour? Thanks for any tips

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Greg Blaney Replied to Lee Santiva 2 years, 1 month ago

Hi Lee, thanks for your note. I shot this with an Olympus E-M1, which is a mirrorless camera. One of the features of the camera is something called Live Composite and that is what I used when shooting this scene. Essentially what it does is take a photo with the camera settings (f2.8, ISO1600) and then keep the lens open until I press the shutter again. The difference between Live Composite and Bulb is that Bulb will continue to let light into the camera as long as the shutter is open and Live Composite will take the picture and then only record NEW light that it detects, therefore not overexposing the original image. In the photo above, I took the picture then left it for one hour to record additional light, which created the star trails and captured the meteor. I hope that helps - contact me again if you have any additional questions.

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
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