I like going on the air to talk about meteor showers. Most people don’t really know what causes them and are surprised at how little it takes to light up the sky.
Tonight, the Earth passes through the orbit of a comet. There are little bits of debris left over from previous trips through the solar system that will be pulled in by the Earth’s gravity.
As tiny as they are, and grains of sand is a good size to think about, they will superheat as they speed into the upper atmosphere. Imagine seeing a grain of sand burning up from 50 or 100 miles away… often farther. That’s what a meteor shower is all about.
When I get home tonight, I’ll prepare the camera. Wide angle lens – check. Cable release for the shutter – got it. I’m good to go. Still I’ve photographed a few meteor showers and managed to catch action once!
As Earth rotates, the side facing the direction of its orbit around the Sun tends to scoop up more space debris. This part of the sky is directly overhead at dawn. For this reason, the Perseids and other meteor showers (and also random shooting stars in general) are usually best viewed in the predawn hours.
I don’t like standing outside in the middle of the night in the pitch black of my neighborhood. That’s the only thing that gets in my way. But, I will attempt to fight my fears for the sake of the picture.
If I get anything good… heck, if I get anything, I’ll post it here.
Addendum: High thin clouds… inconsequential clouds under any other circumstance, have rolled over Connecticut. I’ll recheck later, but this doesn’t look good.