Geminid Meteor Show To Peak Tonight & Tomorrow Night

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Every year in December we are treated to the Geminid Meteor Shower which is debris left over by the Asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The peak here in the GMT Timezone (Portugal, UK & Ireland) is over the next 2 nights (December 13th and 14th) although will be visible for a few nights later.  The best viewing starts after midnight and will last until dawn, but can be seen as soon as it goes dark. For a more detailed look at the times in your own timezone, take a look at Time and Date’s Web Page. Of course, any cloudy skies may hamper the viewing.

The Geminids take their name from the constellation Gemini where they originate, however, can be seen anywhere in the sky. Obviously the darker the sky the more chance of spotting them. They are very slow-moving and can shine multiple colours. It has been known to witness up to 160 an hour! After sunset if watch between North and East you can’t go wrong.

Here are some photos I took in 2017 with some photography tips following below

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Geminids 2017
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Another Geminids Meteor Shower Photo

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Further to my earlier post, here is another photo of the Geminids from last night.

This timeframe was earlier in the evening and is a capture from between 8:07pm and 10:05pm. A shot was taken every 20 seconds with an exposure of 15 seconds. This resulted in 562 photos, 23 of which you can see merged here. One shot is the canvas and another 22 shots with meteors. Yes, before you count, there are 22 meteors in this photo.

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Geminids 2017
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Perseids Meteor Shower 2017

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The Perseids Meteor Shower is a yearly event in August as the Earth travels through the dust left behind by the Comet Swift-Tuttle as it orbits the Earth.

This year, the peak time was 1am on the 13th August, however, the bright Moon in the sky was going to wash out most of the visible Meteors and make photography a little tricky. Therefore, I decided to set the camera up and point North East towards the Perseus Constellation (where the shower gains it’s name) before Moon rise to capture some of the early starters.

The image below is the best of the bunch. If you look closely, you can actually see 3 Meteors that burnt up within this 20 second exposure. It’s amazing to think that these bright “shooting stars” are dust the size of a grain of sand!

What I love about this shot is not only is the Milky Way clearly evident, but also the Andromeda Galaxy is showing herself off too!

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Persieds Meteors - D810, AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm, f/3.2, ISO3200, 20sec - {Flickr Link}
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Polaris Star Trails

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The Algarve is having some very clear evenings (and days too!) but the forecast is for patchy clouds over the coming days. The Moon is also not visible right now, therefore, last night I decided to make the most of the dark and clear sky.

Earlier in the day I went on a scouting mission to find something interesting to put in the foreground of a Star Trail photograph.

Interestingly enough, it’s the same location (different direction) that I shot my Sunset Photos last week. I wanted to create a circle around Polaris (AKA The North Star) so needed a view northwards. This spot was ideal, so I returned after darkness had set in.

After more than two hours in complete darkness on top of this hill with nothing but a herd of cows and the occasional Owl noise to keep me company,  I returned home with 195 long exposure (30 seconds each) shots.

These shots have been merged together in Photoshop to create the star trail. The ruin was lit on just the first shot with a small LED torch.

This effect of the stars moving is actually the earth rotating on its axis. Polaris is positioned near to the North Pole Axis (hence the name North Star or Pole Star) which is why it’s almost static while all the other stars appear to circle around it. 

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Polaris Star Trails - D810, AF-S 14-24 f/2.8 @ 14mm, f/2.8, ISO1600, 30sec (195 shots merged) - {Flickr Link}

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