The Perseid Meteor Shower

Aug 12/13, 2015

This year's shower was special - predicted maximum as we passed through the core of the stream of debris was scheduled for midnight Pacific time. And we had new moon, and we had dry clear skies.Unfortunately, it was also mid-week. I'd originally hoped to join Chris K at the White Mountains for the shower, shooting the meteors all night amid the bristlecone pines. But his research schedule conflicted, in the end. Tried to set something up with Stephanie V, who was eager for meteor astrophotography amid the bristlecones... but her work schedule ended up conflicting as well. I was still intent on getting a long series of deep images, capturing every meteor I could, making an animated .gif file. I needed a good dark sky, so Laguna Mountain was the choice. I did my usual Wednesday swim workout with Ferrell at the gym, then to Taqueria Vallarta for a good vege burrito to go, then gas'd up, popped in "the Black Hole War" by Leonard Susskind for audiobook entertainment, and hit the road. Fog was coming in over Watsonvilled and Salinas, and so it looked like I might get luck with darker skies than I thought, and decided to change my destination to Pinnacles National Park, which is very dark when fog covers the Monterey Bay cities. I arrived at 10pm, went to Chalone Creek trailhead, which would allow me to walk a bit out into the wash and have a good horizon and also not have to worry about any car headlights. It's the same spot that Geo 27 uses for doing rock identifications.

From 10:30 till just before 3am, I had the Nikon D7000 with the 10mm fisheye lens shooting frame after frame

ISO 4000, 30 sec exposures, white-balance=sunlight

I'd hoped to have gnarly bristlecones in my exposures. I settled for this long-dead manzanita skeleton

The first was the brightest I captured. The constellation Perseus is on the Milky Way, at lower left here

Packed up at 3am, was home by 5, at some point.... I'll sleep!