Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

Perseid Meteor Shower

August 13, 2015




These three images were taken on the peak night of the annual Perseid meteor shower.  The sky was exceptional clear during a period of new moon.  Earlier in the evening we observed several bright "earth grazer" meteors which where quite bright, slow moving and left a brief vapor trail.  Later, we  observed about 30-40 meteors per hour between 11:30pm and 2:30am, but most were fast and small mixed in with an occasional bright meteor.  I used my 6D at ISO1600 to capture 35 second exposures with my 24-105mm f4.0 lens set to 24mm at f4.0.  This covered a fairly large area of sky but resulted in meteors that are very small on the images.  I was hoping for one large and slow moving meteor to cross the image frame. Overall, this seemed like a good combination if wanting to capture a large bright fireball, but a zoom in to perhaps 40mm or more would result in better looking small meteors at the risk of not catching many.

The top image features no meteors, but a nice view the Big Dipper sitting low on the horizon.  There was also a bit of auroral and/or possible "air-glow" present in the image.  The center image also features the Big Dipper low on the horizon with one meteor streaking across the image frame in the upper left.  The bottom image features a fairly bright meteor low on the horizon, just below the three handle stars of the Big Dipper.  All images were captured looking to the Northwest away from the radiant in hopes of capturing long meteor trailing. 


  • Date & Location:  August 13, 2015 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm winds, Temperature 59F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with above average transparency.  

  • SQM-L: 20.64 - 20:71

  • Optics:  Canon EOS 24-105mm f4.0L @ 24mm f4.0

  • Filter:  None

  • Mount:  AstroTrac TT320X

  • Guiding:  None

  • Camera:  Canon 6D unmodified

  • Exposure:  138 - 35 second subs @ ISO1600

  • Calibration Frames:  None

  • Processing:  PS CS6, GradientXTerminator, NIK filters  

  • Comments:  Most of my imaging was done towards the NW.   I took several images overhead to include the Milky Way, but no meteors were captured.  All in all it is probably best to just keep shooting the same area of the sky and not waste time moving the camera in hopes of capturing a meteor like one you may have just seen in that area of the sky. 

Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors