Perseid Meteor. Photo taken in rural Brittany, France, away from light pollution and using a Canon EOS 40D camera with an ISO of 800.
The annual Perseid meteor shower is set to peak tonight and offers the prospect of stunning views and photos. Here are simple tips on getting pictures.
Check your camera settings and then snap away
The best way to get meteor photos is with a tripod mounted Digital SLR camera. It must be set on fully manual exposure settings and manual focus. The best approach is to use a relatively high ISO, say 400 – 800, and take shots of two to three minutes at full aperture and widest angle.
Once you’ve checked the focus and exposure is okay, just take a sequence of shots and hopefully some will have meteors on.
Don’t be too tempted to keep checking the images. Invariably a good meteor comes over when you’re not taking pictures!
Another problem is a wide angle lens gets a higher probability of meteors, but has less contrast and shorter trains. In that case cropping the photo (see example below) is usually needed.
This photo was taken on a Cannon EOS 40D camera with an ISO of 400 in Brittany, France, in 2010. It is a cropped shot of a meteor, with the constellation of Cassiopeia in the top left.
Make sure you have a fully charged battery and a spare – long exposures drain batteries quite quickly!
You definitely need a tripod or a very stable mount. Away from street lighting is best too.
Keep your fingers crossed for good weather
The skies need to be clear to see the full spectacular display, with the meteor shower set to peak.
Provided the skies are clear, people could see up to 50 meteors an hours during the peak of the shower between Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 August.
Staying up late or getting up early could increase your chances of seeing something – and they can be seen with the naked eye but the recommendation is top get away from light pollution.
The photos have been lightened using a simple online editing tool to show the amazing Perseid meteor shower in its full glory on computer screens!