Monday, November 16, 2009

An Opportunity to Shoot A Meteor

If you have been wanting to photograph or video tape a meteor, tonight might be your chance. Take your cameras and tripods out, there might be an amazing meteor shower coming your way.

One of the best annual meteor shows, the Leonid Meteor Shower, is happening between 1am and dawn.  NASA predicts 20 to 30 meteors per hour over the Americas and 200 to 300 per hour over Asia.  The Leonid stream is moving in the opposite direction of Earth and produces impact speeds of 160,000 mph.  When our planet travels through the stream of debris, they vaporize and create dramatic streaks of light (with hues of white, blue, aquamarine and green -- occasionally into fireballs with streaks visible for several minutes.

Since we are currently on "New Moon," the skies will be dark enough for a good picture or video clip.  The best locations to shoot would be away from the lights of the city.

The Earth will pass one of the denser debris stream around 1am PST Tuesday Morning.  The meteors can appear anywhere but can be traced to their hub, the constellation Leo.

I recommend shooting with a normal to short telephoto lens (50mm to 100mm on 35mm) since they are unpredictable and could show up anywhere on the sky/horizon.  This will give you a wide enough coverage to capture the light show.  Good luck!

Here are some photos of the Leonid Meteor Shower from

Photo by Howard Goodman

Photo by Alain Pierre Hovasse

Photo by Mark A. Brown

Photo by David Ryle

--Photos from

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