Geminid Meteor Shower


Geminid Meteor Shower

At the end of a very enjoyable three days of astrophotography with a several other astronomers at the Leon Mow Dark Sky Site in Victoria (Australia), I caught a nice display of Geminid meteors. Over two or three hours, while also tending to cameras and telescopes, I spotted about 44 Geminid meteors as well as a number of other 'sporadics'. My camera also caught quite a few. For two hours, I kept a Canon 5D mkII ticking over at ISO3200 with 8 second exposures through a 24mm f1.4 lens wide open, all on a Vixen GP-DX equatorial mount. I stacked that against a single 2 minute exposure to capture the surrounding stars and the milky way through Orion and up to Sirius and Canis Major at the top.

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I count 34 Geminid meteors in the above image. This layer mask that I used in Photoshop might help you identify them - some very faint and another bright one that appeared headed straight for the camera from the meteor shower radiant between Castor and Pollux in Gemini.

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That's easily my most productive meteor photographing attempt, and clearly shows the perspective effect of meteors appearing to stream away from the radiant.


Wow! I love the layer mask to assist my layman eyes. They look amazing...

Nice work!

Nice work Phil! Love the layer mask idea.

Awesome! I love it. :-D

I've taken the liberty of forwarding it to the Bad Astronomy blog (Dr Phil Plait) - I hope this is okay with you, apologies if not.

thanks Steve.. the more people who enjoy the photo the better :-)

Awsome Photograph...........

What a great image, super work!!

thank you for sharing this amazing work with us!

Well done, an amazing image !
I have two questions:
-It seems there is no coma aberration at 1.4 on your 24mm. Is it so ? I'm impressed. What lens is it ?
-First I thought it could have been done in a single exposure but of course would have been too much light. Why are you using the mask and not just the "lighten" option in PS ?
You have a wonderful sky there ! I like in Europe and that is my main problem, there is no sky.

the longer exposure to record the widefield scene was recorded with the Canon 24mm mkI lens stopped down to f2.8 by which point it is very sharp.

i was using the lighten layer option as well to produce this, but the meteor frames have been stretched significantly to brighten the meteors and if i don't mask them then lots of other artefacts come into the image, both from immediately around the brighter meteors and across the whole frame.