Wednesday, January 4, 2012

QUADRANTID METEOR SHOWER

We left the house early this morning travel out and sees the first meteor shower of the new year.  Here is information about the meteor shower from the NASA site http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc.

"The 2012 Quadrantids, a little-known meteor shower named
after an extinct constellation, will present an excellent chance for hardy souls to start the year off with some late-night meteor watching. Peaking in the wee morning hours of Jan. 4, the Quadrantids have a maximum rate of about 100 per hour, varying between 60-200. The waxing gibbous moon will set around 3
a.m. local time, leaving about two hours of excellent meteor observing before dawn. It's a good thing, too, because unlike the more famous Perseid and Geminid
meteor showers, the Quadrantids only last a few hours -- it's the morning of Jan. 4, or nothing..  Like the Geminids, the Quadrantids originate from an asteroid, called 2003 EH1. Dynamical studies suggest that this body could very well be a piece of a comet which broke apart several centuries ago, and that the meteors you will see before dawn on Jan. 4 are the small debris from this fragmentation. After hundreds of years orbiting the sun, they will enter our
atmosphere at 90,000 mph, burning up 50 miles above Earth's surface -- a fiery end to a long journey! The Quadrantids derive their name from the constellation of Quadrans Muralis (mural quadrant), which was created by the French astronomer Jerome Lalande in 1795. Located between the constellations of Bootes and Draco, Quadrans represents an early astronomical instrument used to
observe and plot stars. Even though the constellation is no longer recognized by astronomers, it was around long enough to give the meteor shower -- first seen no doesn't write good thing is what you do on Saturday in 1825 -- its name."

I decided we would view the show From Gooseberry, arriving there in the wee hours of the morning, with the temperature at 16°F in the wind chill down to around 0°F, just as I got out of the car and looked up and extremely bright meteor trail went over my head.

The night before, I set up my cameras, one with a fisheye lens and one with an 18 mm-105 mm zoom lens (sent to 18 mm).  The settings I used were manual exposure, manual focus, set at infinity, 30 seconds and ISO 800.  I also set the camera on time delayed so I could push the shutter button, and then they would be a delay before the shutter would open.

The sky D7K_1931-Edit January 04, 2012 NIKON D7000Night Sky

There were many faint meteor trails that occurred and I did capture some of them.  - MeteorD3B_2105 January 04, 2012 NIKON D3SBecause of the short exposure, I did not get star trails.

 

 

 

in this photo there is a meteor trail at around 9:00 and a second one up from the center going toward 2:00

- meteor ill D3B_2133 January 04, 2012 NIKON D3S I illuminated the trail in this photo

It was an enjoyable morning, despite the cold and I am looking forward to the next meteor shower, and hopefully it'll be warmer and that those sky will be as bright and clear as it was this morning.