The Perseid meteor shower in 2016 was expected to peak in the wee hours of August 12 with reasonably good observing conditions (Moon expected to set before the peak). As I was on vacation in the Greek island of Lipsi (Λειψοί), I could not bring along my full setup: instead, I had to make do with my Sony A6000 mirrorless camera (fitted with its ubiquitous 16-50 mm zoom), a small Cullmann tripod and a shutter release remote control.
Therefore, I headed out to a dark site, where I set up my rig and shot multiple 30 s exposures for about an hour, between 2:00 and 3:00 local time (23:00 – 00:00 UT) with the camera set at 6400 ISO and the zoom at the shortest focal length possible (16 mm @ f/3.5).
Out of about 140 exposures, one or more shooting stars were detected in 25 exposures, totaling 27 meteors, i.e. about half of what I managed to observe with the naked eye. These figures are not impressive, the problem being essentially the relatively narrow field of view. For such applications a wider field of view, e.g. such as the one offered by my Canon 6D DSLR + my 14 mm Samyang lens combo, is strongly advisable. Unfortunately, I could not bring a more advanced (but heavier) rig because of restrictions on baggage weight.
When back home, I picked out the shots where at least one meteor was visible, then I put them together in a composite in PixInsight and Photoshop. Here is the final result:
The meteors are visible in the image above as multicolor streaks (akin to a rainbow), which appear to be originating from a single spot in the sky, called the “radiant”, located in constellation Perseus. All in all I think the result is not so bad, given the less-than-ideal equipment used.
The most prominent meteors recorded are in the upper right quadrant (the one ending out of the field of view, most likely a fireball) and the one in the bottom right quadrant, closer to M45, the Pleiades star cluster.
Below is an annotated version of the above composite:
However, there is indeed much room for improvement. Lessons learned for next time:
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