Thursday, August 13, 2015

An Early Morning Harvest of Perseid Meteors!

The annual meteor shower associated with the Comet Swift-Tuttle is on a roll ! The Perseid meteor shower (named after the constellation Perseus that the meteors appear to come from, which is just an optical illusion) is doing fine this year. What is a meteor? First off, a meteoroid is a small rocky or metallic body traveling through space. When it encounters our Earth's atmosphere, aerodynamic heating that takes place at speeds typically about 45,000 mph begins to burn up the rock (sometimes no larger than a grain of sand thought sometimes much larger!). This produces a streak of light, both from the glowing object and the trail of glowing particles that it leaves in its wake. Then we call it a meteor ("shooting star" which, of course, it is not a star). If a piece of the meteor manages to make it to the ground it is called a meteorite. (WIKI link).

Here is my harvest of meteor photos taken August 13, 2015 from 1:30 am until 4:30 am from La Pine, Oregon. These were taken with Canon DSLR's set at 1600 to 3200 ISO, f/4.5, from 30 to 60 seconds. NOTE: Click on each image to see a large version of that photo.

This small meteor produced a small tail, either as a result of it being a small meteoriod or optical perspective. The brightest star in the upper left is Polaris, the North Pole star.

This is another one, also near Polaris:

As you see in this photo, the meteor was moving from left to right, with meteor's tail is pointing back to the constellations Perseus (center). The tail was quite long! In the upper left quadrant you might notice the galaxy Andromeda!

Some meteors are very faint:

And some are very bright, often referred to as a bolide. This one got away from me and streaked from right to left!

 Sometimes the color of a meteor changes, as you see in this next image, from green to orange as it slows down from the atmospheric drag on the rock:

 Here are a few more to look at:

and then dawn begins...

Comments or questions are always welcomed (well, as least nice ones)!

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