Perseid Fireball

Discussion in 'Landscape' started by Dave Johnston, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Dave Johnston

    Dave Johnston Well-Known Member

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    Observing this year's Perseids was challenging in West Virginia, with moonlight illuminating persistent high cirrus clouds. Not expecting much, I headed out and spent the Sunday/Monday night on a cliff edge hoping to get something. I let the camera run with continuous exposures from 5 seconds to 15 seconds (after the moon went down) and accumulated 2200 exposures, about 10 of which showed meteors, most of which did not show well through the thin clouds.

    But I did get one good one, which qualifies as a fireball (magnitude brighter then -4). This was very short and fast, but it apparently exploded in a bright flash at the end. The cliffs in the foreground were illuminated only by moonlight. I darkened the sky a little for better contrast but otherwise this needed very little processing.

    I'm including a detail of the meteor itself, and of the train that was visible for at least 30 seconds after the event. The train is composed of ionized, glowing air molecules, and was blown around by upper atmosphere winds.


    190812 Perseid Fireball Detail.jpg


    190812 Perseid Fireball Trail.jpg
    Comments and suggestions are welcome!

    Dave
     
  2. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    I really like the full scene in the first image - a very nice result. I would not call myself an expert on night/star photography but I do like the result of how you processed this. The additional detail shot are interesting as I have never shot something like this and was not aware of the rainbow hues to the tail. Glad you included them.
     
  3. Ken Rennie

    Ken Rennie Staff Member

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    The first image is stunning Dave. The only problem that I can see is that it looks unbelievable and most people will think that it is a good montage rather than a wonderful "straight" image. Ken
     
  4. Ben Egbert

    Ben Egbert Forum Helper
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    Very very nice.
     
  5. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    Very cool Dave! I have had the privilege to shoot quite a few shooting stars and a few fireballs, and this one looks great. It’s such an awesome joy to see one explode. I like how you shot from the cliff there and I like the radiating clouds in the sky.
     
  6. Dave Johnston

    Dave Johnston Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Alan, Ken, Ben and Jim. Alan, the colors of the tail are characteristic of this type of meteor and relative to the composition of the material being ablated. Typically the first materials glow green when first entering the atmosphere, followed by an orange or white or blue-white and often ending with a red, as shown here. This is unusual in that it apparently exploded, generating such a bright light that its color was blown out in the exposure.

    Ken, this was so unusual and dramatic that I worried that people would think it is fake; "photoshopped". Then I stopped worrying about it!

    Jim, my biggest problem was too much light, honestly. If I had shot longer exposures the cliffs became to bright and the clouds got so light that there would be little contrast with any meteor that happened along, and if I stopped down more I would have decreased the brightness of any meteor. I was just lucky that this one came along to completely eclipse the brightness of the overall scene.

    Dave
     
    #6 Dave Johnston, Aug 15, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  7. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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  8. Linda Combs

    Linda Combs Well-Known Member

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  9. Dave Johnston

    Dave Johnston Well-Known Member

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    Thanks so much, Jim!

    Dave
     
  10. Amy Nelson

    Amy Nelson Supporting Member

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    Wonderful shot!
     
  11. Douglas Sherman

    Douglas Sherman Supporting Member

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    A well deserved Daily Featured Post, Dave and a great set as well.
     
  12. Jim Dockery

    Jim Dockery Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
     
  13. Dave Johnston

    Dave Johnston Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Amy, Doug and Jim!

    Dave
     
  14. Jim Sanderson

    Jim Sanderson Well-Known Member

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    Cool shot terrific capture.
     
  15. Sunny Sra

    Sunny Sra Well-Known Member

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    Awesome! I saw that meteor as well from my tent while debating if i should setup camera or not. decided not to :)
     
  16. pepper

    pepper Well-Known Member

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    very nice capture!
     

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