Saturday, December 14, 2013

Geminid Meteors with Canon Rebel XT over Indiana, December 13, 2013

This was my second time photographing the Geminid meteor shower. After coming up short after 3 nights of shooting last year (1 good meteor candidate), I was ready for another try. The forecast called for a huge snow storm to roll through the night of December 13-14 (the peak night). However, the night of December 12-13 was clear for the most part.

I went to see The Hobbit double feature in IMAX 3D with my brother, and after being in the theater from 7pm - 3am I wasn't in any mood to do some serious star photography, especially with work in the morning. I knew I would regret it if I didn't at least TRY to catch some Geminids the day before the peak, and am I ever glad I did! The bright moon was setting, and I had the benefit of a remote shutter lock this year (compared to taping the shutter down last year). 

I watched the photos download onto the computer, and didn't see any meteors in the thumbnail images. I took 381 photos total, each at ISO 800 (couldn't go to 1600 because of light pollution), 18mm, f/4.0, 15 sec each. My camera clicked away on the balcony from 3:21 AM to 5:06 AM when the battery finally died in the cold. 

When I finally looked through all the photos "by hand" on the computer one at a time, I was thrilled! Not only did I have a good "candidate" for a meteor, I had TWO very obvious meteors originating out of the constellation Gemini. Jackpot!

Geminid Meteors december 13
A Geminid meteor between Gemini and Canis Minor, it appears to be originating out of Jupiter near the center of the contellation

Geminid Meteors december 13
A Geminid meteor to the right of Gemini, this one's trail appears to originate out of top of the constellation between Castor and Pollux. I can't believe I nabbed this one just 2 min before my battery died!

geminid meteor composite
Composite of the two images above, color and contrast messed with in Photoshop

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