Star trails and Perseids

The Perseid meteor shower had its peak a few days ago (late August 12 / early August 13 in North America), and since I both live in an urban area (bright night skies) and had cloudy weather that night, missed out on what must have been a good show.

But as luck would have it, we own a small bit of land in southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains — a dark sky sort of place — and I’d already planned on traveling down for the weekend to do some maintenance work.  So, I thought I should try to capture some lagging Perseids the night of the 13th / 14th — here’s my first shot from the series:

Crowded skies

FWIW, I again used Olympus’ “Live Composite” mode for this shot — the full settings with an Olympus OM-D E-M5II and M.Zuiko 7-14mm lens were f/3.5, 14mm, ISO 800, 45 exposures of 20 seconds each.  You can see a few things right away:

  1. I took this at a site with very dark skies — look at all the stars!
  2. Only one meteor in 15 minutes of photographing (sniff…).
  3. That’s the trail of a commercial airliner in the lower left corner of the shot.

Shortly after that, I did another Live Composite stack with essentially the same settings, but nearly centered on Polaris:

Swirl of stars

This one captured another single, very long trail; the “ripply” look of the star trails at top and lower left is due to some broken cloud cover.

Finally, I switched to a fisheye — to be specific, the M.Zuiko 8mm f/1.8 fisheye lens:

Looking north

This arrangement finally got me more than a single meteor trail — I count 5 in this frame (again, a 15 minute / 45-exposure stack of 20 second photographs via Live Composite).  FWIW, that light area in the lower right of the frame isn’t skyglow from a nearby city — it’s from a distant thunderstorm.