I spent the night of August 11-12 by Yellowwood Lake in Brown County to view and photograph the Perseid meteor shower. This was organized as a field trip for members of the Bloomington Photography Club. The Perseids are usually the best meteor shower of the year and this one was expected to be better than usual because the Moon was near new phase so wouldn't brighten the sky. Yellowwood is an Indiana state forest in a rural area of the state but not far from the medium-sized city of Bloomington. Though the sky was clear at sunset, clouds moved in just afterward but cleared up by 11 o’clock. A dozen or so club members enjoyed watching the sky and chatting on a fine, quiet summer evening though it was a bit hazy, buggy, and muggy. Several folks learned a bit about photographing the night sky in general and meteors in particular. Nevertheless, the shower was rather disappointing. We did see a few meteors by the early hours of the morning, but fewer than expected.
I had set up a Nikon D850 DSLR with a wide-angle lens (14-24mm f/2.8 at 20mm) on an iOptron SkyGuider Pro tracker shooting a time-lapse of 60-second exposures centered toward the shower radiant in the constellation Perseus. Out of over 500 frames, 15 or so contained meteors, some very faint, others quite prominent, amid the usual satellites and aircraft. Meanwhile I was also shooting some deep sky targets with a ZWO ASI294MC Pro (cooled color CMOS) camera and Nikon telephoto lens (200-500mm f/5.6 at 500mm) mounted on an iOptron CEM25P drive. Since the conditions were fairly good, I stayed all night, catching a couple of hours sleep in my tent while the cameras kept shooting, though by the wee hours of the morning, the others had left.
The Perseid meteor shower from Yellowwood State Forest, Brown County, Indiana. A composite of about 50 frames combined in Starry Sky Stacker and further processed in Adobe Lightroom. 15 frames containing meteors were individually added in Adobe Photoshop. Note the Northern Milky Way running through the frame, and the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) at lower right. Nikon D850, 14-24mm f/2.8 @20mm, 60 second exposures, f/2.8, ISO 800, iOptron SkyGuider Pro tracker, Pluto Trigger intervalometer. Processed in Starry Sky Stacker, Lightroom, and Photoshop.
M31, The Andromeda Galaxy. 30 frames, 180 sec. each, ZWO ASI294MC Pro (cooled color CMOS) camera, Nikon telephoto lens (200-500mm f/5.6 at 500mm), and UV/IR cut filter, mounted on an iOptron CEM25P drive, auto-guiding and exposures using an ASIAir controller. Processed in Astro Pixel Processor and Adobe Lightroom.
M45, the Pleiades open cluster. 20 frames, 180 sec. each, ZWO ASI294MC Pro (cooled color CMOS) camera, Nikon telephoto lens (200-500mm f/5.6 at 500mm), and UV/IR cut filter, mounted on an iOptron CEM25P drive, auto-guiding and exposures using an ASIAir controller. Processed in Astro Pixel Processor and Adobe Lightroom.