Friday, August 20, 2010

Astrophoto Friday - Perseids over Palomar

This week's astrophoto comes from Iair Arcavi of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Iair happened to be observing with the 200-inch Hale Telescope the night of the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. He managed to pull enough time away from his observations of Type Ia supernovae (discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory survey) to take some camera on tripod images of the shower.

I think that you'll agree that he did a super job in capturing the shower. You can easily see that the meteor trails all point back to the radiant (where the meteors seem to stream from) to the left of the open dome.

I had several request from both professional and amateur photographers who wanted to visit the site to capture the shower. Unfortunately I was unable to make it work for them as it isn't easy to gain access to the observatory grounds after hours. Of course it is much easier if you are scheduled to be using the big telescope.


jg said...

I caught four Perseids in photos, but each in it's own photo and across two nights. I love this photo. Any info on the lens and exposure time?


Anonymous said...

Great with the dome and 8 meteors. Can you give the time taken, lens, and exposure info. Has to be a short exposure since neither the stars nor the trees are blurry.

Scott Kardel said...

From Iair Arcavi:

"The camera (a Canon 50D with a wide angle 10-22 mm lens) was left outside on a tripod taking 25 second exposures in sequence. That night, over 750 images were taken at that position, and about 9 of them caught bright meteors. These 9 images were then combined to form this composite.

"Unfortunately, I didn't get to see any of the meteors myself (except for a few which just happened to pass when I was changing camera batteries), as I was inside the dome most of the night, using the 200" telescope to take spectra of distant supernovae. The camera zapping away outside got to see all the action. "

GinnyO said...

Awesome photo, thanks for sharing it and your methodology!!! My family is really enjoying your blog these days.