Chasing meteors and the Milky Way


Photography / Friday, August 26th, 2016

Each August the earth moves in to the path of debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle and we’re treated to the Persied Meteor Shower. This year I decided to take advantage of a few days off from work, and make a stargazing trip to the Nebraska sandhills for the peak nights of the shower. This region in North-Central Nebraska provides some of the least light polluted skies to be found in the lower 48 states, and I’m fortunate to live within a few hours of it.

This is a single image of the galactic center, that's been processed to enhance the colors. You can see one meteor in the lower right corner of the image.
This is a single image of the galactic center, that’s been processed to enhance the colors. If you look closely, you can see one meteor in the lower right corner of the image.

The trip was not a disappointment. The area was beautiful, the weather cooperated for the most part, and we were treated to a beautiful display in the early morning hours. While meteors aren’t particularly photogenic themselves, I also wanted to use the trip to to try some of the astrophotography techniques outlined on Lonely Speck for capturing images of the Milky Way. It’s an excellent resource, with a ton of useful information, that I highly recommend checking out.

While not many of my shots turned out, I was happy with the end result for my first foray into astrophotography. I look forward to trying to improve on the results in the future, but in the meantime I wanted to share my two favorite images.

This is a composite image of 8 identical exposures, again processed to highlight the color. Pictured is the constellation Cassiopeia, with the Andromeda galaxy visible in the top right of the photo.
This is a composite image of 8 identical exposures, again processed to highlight the color. Pictured is the constellation Cassiopeia, with the Andromeda galaxy visible in the top right of the photo.

One Reply to “Chasing meteors and the Milky Way”

  1. Incredible shots of an incredible opportunity to get a glimpse of our amazing galaxy (and beyond)! It was an adventure I’ll always remember, albeit that I felt incredibly small…..but eternally grateful for being with family underneath the greatest of all canopies. Thanks to my son for arranging it, and thanks to my Father in those Heavens for providing the backdrop.

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