2015 Persieds


The 2015 Persieds promised to be pretty good this year: no moon and a forecast of clear skies.   From a “sitting on the deck” perspective they came through: we saw quite a number of them when we were out and observing.  As chance would have it Damien and Cayla, our grandchildren, were here for a sleepover and so they both got to see their first “shooting stars”.  That alone made the night worthwhile.

Photographically, however, not nearly as much luck.   I set up the Fuji X-T1 with interval shooting (1 second, the minimum) and with 15 second exposures at ISO 1600.  Sadly my 10-24mm lens only opens to f/4.   With the noise reduction on it was only taking images about 60% of the time, so serendipity was a play.   In the end only 4 frames out of 400+ had meteors in them.  (Lightroom processing was +1.3EV, boosted the whites a bit, and converted to black & white for all but the dawn shots.)

Here’s a time-lapse of the evening.   The first part starts around 10pm and ends up with clouds.  It then switches to around 4am and runs until dawn starts to overwhelm the starlight.   You’ll see a lot of satellites and aircraft and a few flashes here and there of the meteors.

Here are the other 3 meteor grabs:

Very faint in lower-right:


This looks like 2, but the meteor is in the bottom-left corner (in the trees).  The other streak (center-ish) is a satellite.


Another faint streak above the tree (just left of center):


If this were a Friday or weekend, I probably would have babysat the camera all night and grabbed a few more images.   In retrospect, I should have set up another camera with a different timing sequence to get better time coverage… something I definitely considered but given the light pollution from Boston and the hill obscuring Perseus, this worked well enough.  Besides, this wasn’t about the pictures — meteor showers can really only be appreciated in person, preferably with good friends and family nearby.

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