Meteor Photographs With a 35-mm Camera

My wife Mary adjusting the eight meteor patrol cameras carried on an aquatorial drive platform. My high school days friend Buff Waters (left) and I (both Class of 65) and the fixed camera cluster used on the 2002 Leonid shower.

Leonid 1998 Meteor

Leonid Fireball Over Texas

17 November, 1998

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I call this my "Rainbow Leonid" because it changed color from green to yellow to red to blue as it flared into a bolide at about 4:30 am local time. South Texas enjoyed about 300 meteors per hour between 4am and dawn on November 17th. The 18th was clouded out. This image is about half the field of a 50 mm lens. The meteor left a 30-degree train which remained visible for about 10 minutes as it slowly twisted into a huge "U" shape. The image was taken with a 50mm f/1.4 Nikor on Fuji Superia 400 film.

Perseid Meteor

Camera Cluster Success!!

A Bright Perseid Meteor

13 August, 1999

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The above Perseid image was taken using the meteor photography camera cluster described in this link. This particular exposure was the second shot of the session, taken at 3:30 A.M. on the night of August 13, 1999. In a case of beginner's luck, this was the only meteor captured durring the photography session. The other seven cameras captured no meteors at all. This exposure was on Fuji Superia 400 film, exposed five minutes through a 50 mm f/1.7 Minolta lens.

Note: For better dramatic effect, this image is displayed upsidedown. In reality, it was "rising" higher in the sky as seen visually.

Geminid Meteor

Twin Geminid Meteor Trails

13 December, 1999

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The 1999 Geminid meteor shower was a dissapointment to those expecting bright fireballs. But what the shower lacked in bright meteors, it made up in numbers of meteors. Locally, the shower was as active as the 1998 Leonids, displaying in excess of 200 meteors per hour. This exposure shows two Geminids that flashed within several seconds of each other. The brighter was magnitude -3 to 4 while the dimer was about -2. The image was taken with Fuji Superia 400 film, exposed five minutes through a 50 mm f/1.4 Minolta lens.

Geminid 2002 Meteor

The One That Got Away

2002 Geminid meteor

This is every meteor photographer's nightmare, a bright meteor just on the edge of the field of view. The 50 mm F/1.4 lens used to capture this meteor was normally trained on Orion. But as the constellation moved across the sky, I forgot to reaim the camera after several exposures and Orion started to leave the field of view just as a bright fireball crossed the center of the constellation. Exposed on Fuji Superia 400.

The 2002 Leonid shower occured during a near a full moon, greatly restricting photography of the event. Fortunately, the shower was rich in bright fireballs which allowed capturing a number of brighter meteors by using shorter exposure times due to moonlight. The above four images were all taken with 50 mm F/1.4 lenses and exposures of two minutes. The lower right image was exposued on Kodak E200 while the other three were on Fuji Superia 400.

TSP Fireball

Fireball Over 2003 Texas Star Party

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A brilliant fireball sliced through Ursa Major on Thurday night at the 2003 Texas Star Party. After leaving a 20 mm F/3.5 lens aimed at Polaris each night of the Texas Star Party for nearly ten years, I finally bagged a bright meteor! Exposed on Kodak Max 400 film.

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