Sunday, 31 July 2016

Perseids.. just around the corner..

It's that time of year again.....the Perseids are back..! 

Every August the deck chairs are dragged out of the shed, and the chai tea is prepared.

Then, for the next few weeks the Perseid meteor shower will be much on my mind.

This annual celestial fireworks display is probably one of my favourite naked eye astronomical events.

The peak of this year's event will be on the evening of the 11th into the early hours of the 12th.

Which for me means pulling an all night observing session through until early day break.

With any luck the skies will be clear, and I will be completely knackered from my all night vigil...!

The Perseid shower is one of the best meteor showers to observe. Many people are on holiday at this time of year, so  staying up all night is less of a problem.

Plus the weather is usually warmer, meaning we can all sit outside for longer periods of time.

Though you will usually still need some warm clothing at hand for observations between midnight and Sun up the next day..

Capturing the Perseids

28mm -  f3,5 - 1600ISO - 45 seconds

Above is the one and only Perseid picture I have ever captured.

This image was taken with a digital SLR camera, with around 45 seconds of exposure.

The trouble I find with digital SLR cameras is that the shutter staying open for long periods of time is dependant on the condition of the battery. I don't trust the battery to perform for the long exposures that I require.

Plus, leaving a camera out all evening might allow night dew to find its way into the camera body.

The last thing an electronic digital camera wants is water ingress across its circuits!

Zenit 12xp "Battered" 35mm SLR
This year to avoid that possible headache I'm going to set up my old battered mechanical "no battery required" Russian Zenit 35mm film camera.

If need be I can leave the Zenit shutter open all evening without a problem.

Those Russian cameras are built like tanks.

Leaving a £500 digital camera out overnight on a tripod is not something I would happily try.

But leaving a £1  Zenit "tank" outside overnight is not a problem....!

With any luck over the coming month, I will capture several "long exposure" meteor trails.

Also I have never tried capturing meteors with good old fashioned 35mm film...

I'm looking forward to the results.

Final thoughts:

Even though it will be fun to capture the Perseids, I don't aim to be spending that much time fussing and fiddling with cameras, tripods and film.

For me the enjoyment of meteor watching is simple.

Grab yourself a good deckchair, failing that a decent dry grassy spot and sit back and ponder the Universe.

For many of us, our daily lives are saturated with stress and fear.

We all need quiet moments to recharge and reflect.

These warm August "Meteor" nights allow us that time to recharge, reflect and dream.

Vincent Van Gogh had it right when he said-

For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. Vincent Van Gogh
Read more at:
For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. Vincent Van Gogh
Read more at:
“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream".

Fingers crossed for some Perseid fireworks

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