Perseids 2016

According to all the news media, August 11th was supposed to be a major outburst of the Perseids meteor shower. Something not to be seen again for quite a few years. After my rather disappointing experience with the Camelopardalis, I was somewhat reluctant to go out again. However, since we had a day off on Friday, I decided to take my chances and drove out to the Ojai mountains and gave it a shot.

The moon was still out when I got there and so I had some time to find a comfortable spot and set up my camera. Since trying to hit the trigger when a meteorite comes down never works, I set the camera pointing to the constellation Perseus, where the shower centered. The rest is then fully automated with an intervalometer. I set it to take a 25 second exposure every 30 seconds, to give the sensor a chance to cool down a bit to reduce artifacts in the photos. As the moon started to set around 1 am I hit start, put on my trusty boat coat (who says diving gear is not useful on a mountain?) and reclined into my camping chair.

I forgot the popcorn, but the show was still specular. On average there was a meteorite every couple minutes with a couple of them lasting a good amount of time. About 2 hours later I decided that it was getting too cold for comfort and packed everything up for the drive home.

Some of the best results of the night are in the gallery below. The first photo is a composite of all the meteorites I was able to photograph. I overlaid all the photos and aligned the stars so that the positions and directions are right. Then I erased all the areas without a meteorite, except for the last image, which also serves as background. The panorama was the last thing I did, just because everything was set up. It is made of 9 individual images. I have to spend a bit more time to get the colors right.

And finally a time lapse video of all the images. There are a couple of airplanes on the lower end going left to right, but everything else is a meteorite.

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