Due to the passing of Comet 209P/LINEAR's past orbits and dust created by it, a meteorite shower was predicted by astronomers for this past weekend (May 23-25/2014). It was stated that it could go beyond "showers" and that we could potentially see a "meteor storm" with view of meteorites in the 100s, if not 1000s. per hour.
I've seen meteors and shooting stars in the past. They're incredibly interesting and can be difficult to photograph because you just don't know at what point in time they will appear. This potential storm I thought, would be a good opportunity and a safer "bet" at getting a cool meteorite flashing through the night sky. So I made plans with my photographer friend Keith and a few others to go to a somewhat remote location and try our luck with that.
I saw my first "flash in the sky" not long after arriving to the selected location. Of course, none of us were ready just yet but figured that it would get better and we'd see more the later into the night we got. This was around midnight.
It was getting late and we were still not seeing much, if anything. At around 2-2:30 A.M. we figured predictions were off and we were not going to get much. I think in the hours I sat there, the maximum I saw was about 5. A far cry from the 100s per hour we were expecting.
The meteorite thing ended up being a bust, but we still had a good time, shared some laughs and practiced other types of night time photography, making tasty lemonade out of the "lemon night" we had been given.
I definitely plan to do this again and hopefully have a bit more luck with what we see. The next opportunity to see meteors in my area of the country will be in late July into August. This shower is called the Perseids and are said to be active from July 13th to August 26th and peak on August 12 or 13 depending on the year. The rate of meteors ranges from 50-75 meteors per hour at maximum. The Perseids, are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the metors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero, when at maximum activity.
Here are a few images I shot that night from a couple different cameras. Enjoy!
Above ↑ - Here we are with our cameras pointed to the skies waiting for some "action".
Below ↓ - Since nothing was happening, I pointed one camera to a barn and an old 1950s Cadillac that were in the property. Lights from a few passing vehicles helped to light up the scene a bit and still keeping a "natural", real look to it.
Above ↑ - Another shot of us photographers as we wait while gazing into the night sky. Notice a bit of the Milky Way starting to appear in the lower 2/3 of the frame.
Below ↓ - Another shot of the barn/Cadi combo as we wrap things up.
Things did start to get on a warming trend, or so it seemed for a bit, until a new cold front would change things. From a photography standpoint, it was interesting to see the contrast of colors as certain plants would "green up" early due to the increased sunshine and then be covered in snow days later, as the above photo.
As I write this, we are in the second half of May. Some flowers have already bloomed and there's considerably more color in the landscape. Yesterday however, we awoke to more snowfall and cold temperatures again.
Although I'm enjoying the mix of colors and the clash of the seasons (as opposed to 'change' of the seasons) , I hope this is the last of it as I'm ready for spring.
Hope that those of you that enjoy photography and the outdoors, get the opportunity to enjoy some of the odd scenery we're currently having.
Spring is on its way!