METEOR PHOTOGRAPHY---

Catching meteors on film is a tricky thing. Some are so faint and fast they don't record on film at all. I've photographed four meteor showers and have been disappointed with some of the results, but I am still learning and it has to do with a lot of luck.

Its best to use a fast film. The meteors are often so quick and faint that the film doesn't catch it. My most successful meteor shower photography session was the Leonids of 2001. These were so bright and there were so many that it was near impossible NOT to catch some. I actually have been more successful catching sporadic meteors than meteors during meteor showers....go figure. 

Your exposures are based on light present and the amount of star trails you want...if any. I open my shutter wide f/1.7 or 2.8 and for star points I record for about 30 seconds. If I'm not mistaken a 50mm lens at f/1.7 you can record stars for about 30 seconds for star points. With a 28mm will allow you to record for a slightly longer amount before getting star trails...about 45 seconds.

Star trails are easy to record of course. On these long exposures the meteor will streak a different direction than the stars.

Sometimes the moon interferes with meteor photography or for that matter any astrophotography. This will cut down on the amount of time the shutter should remain open. If you are photographing anywhere near the moon then you need to realize the moons light will show up on the film. Light pollution is another consideration when recording for long periods.

Here are some examples of my photographs to give you a better idea.
1) This photo was taken during the 2001 Leonid Meteor Storm. There was no light pollution or moon. I used a 28mm at f/2.8 this was about a 15 minute exposure. 400ISO
http://www.weatherfriend.com/astronomy/meteor/leonids2001/3dewleonid2001.jpg

2) Leonid Meteor Storm 2001 with a 50mm lens at f/1.7 at about 30seconds 400ISO
http://www.weatherfriend.com/astronomy/meteor/leonids2001/3dipperleonid2001.jpg

3)Summer skies and a Sporadic meteor. Looking south about a 20 min exposure then a two minute, then recording for 30 seconds. 400ISO Light pollution was not this obvious to my eyes, but the film was quite sensitive to it.
http://www.weatherfriend.com/astronomy/astrophotography/meteor2002.jpg

4) This is about 20 minutes on 800ISO film. You can see how much more sensitive this film is, but the meteor in the bottom right stands out because it was not on the same path as the stars.
http://www.weatherfriend.com/astronomy/observations/july212003/13july2033.jpg

I hope this helps. I've been blessed to have caught the meteors I have on film. Its not easy to do, but so much fun!!!!

Good luck!!! I would love to hear/see your experiences of meteor photography and viewing. So drop me a line:)


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