Meteor Shower Watch

11 Aug


[please click any photo to view larger]

Last night Pete and I ventured out to scope out a spot to watch the meteor shower that’s taking place tonight. We went to 4 different spots.

This is how it went.

Spot #1 (Signal Hill- furthest away from the house): This is the perfect spot! We’ll come here, and it’s only 5 minutes from the house if we have to run back.

Spot #2 (Down on the San Gabriel River- second furthest from the house): Oh, I like this spot much better. It’s a lot darker than the last, and only 3 minutes from the house!

Spot #3: (Open grassy area in our community): Well this spot isn’t bad either. It’s as dark as the rest of the spots, and just down the street from the house!

Spot #4: (Our backyard): Pete: I’m just gonna check out the backyard quick and see how bad it is. (10 seconds later) Andrea, come out there. It’s not bad! And we don’t have to leave home!

This proves you don’t ever have to leave home. For any reason. Ever.

Ah, well, the night wasn’t wasted. It was still a fun trip.

But, I was really missing the gorgeous night skies of Minnesota last night. With the nearest “big city” being 35 minutes away (from my home town) across a vast flat land, there is virtually no light pollution. In fact, I can recall a bunch of times driving with my dad at night, and the only “light pollution” was the moon. Sometimes it was so bright you could drive without your headlights on. Of course, totally illegal (do not try this at home, and only trust your dad to do the driving), but what happens in the country… really doesn’t matter. We’d be so lucky to watch the shower there!

But, we do with what we can, and it actually wasn’t too bad last night.

We sat on Signal Hill with our friends, the deer, for a good 2+ hours. Staring into the sky, being stared at by our “friends” while staring into the sky, cramping our necks, arguing over camera settings and having a great time.

Sorry, sarcasm.

After having a “doh” moment, we finally figured out that the image stabilization was turned on on the lens and it was the source of our streaked stars.

We were finally ready to relax.

We set up the lawn chairs, grabbed the cooler, sat back and stared into the abyss.. uh, sky (wishing we would have brought neck pillows).

I never got a shot of the little set up on the hill, but Pete grabbed one before we left.

And it wasn’t complete until we had a NASA bag full of rocks helping to weight down the tripod.

How appropriate.

::

Okay, so getting back to the reason we were sitting on a hill at 2:30 in the morning hanging out with some deer..

The meteors!

The Perseid Meteor shower is going to be at it’s peak tonight at around 3AM. Although you could still see some meteors last night, and probably will be seeing some for a few days following, tonight is the night to watch if you are planning to see anything!

Take it from me. I took 118 photos with 30 second exposure over the period of a few hours, and we saw only about 6 meteors (out of frame, damn).

I read somewhere that we could see up to 100 meteors per hour, or 1-2 per minute tonight. How awesome!

Now, it will probably be a little less than that because of our light pollution. Being about 20 minutes out of Austin still gives us quite a bit of light pollution. 😦

But, we’re hoping for the best!

Now, even though I didn’t get a shot of any meteors last night, I did get some good star pictures, and an awesome shot of the red moon rising.

So, tonight is the night. Cross your fingers I get some great meteor shots! I will be posting back here with more pictures.

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