2016 Perseids

Jeremy Perez

I got out to Sunset Crater National Monument northeast of Flagstaff, AZ to photograph and just bask in what turned out to be an awesome display. Running a couple cameras, I was not counting meteors every minute of every hour, but kind of collected numbers in batches:

0930-1030Z = 63 Perseids / 7 sporadics [rate of 63/hr]
1050-1105Z = 37 Perseids / 1 sporadic [rate of 148/hr]
1105-1120Z = 21 Perseids / 3 sporadics [rate of 84/hr]
1130-1200Z = 55 Perseids / 4 sporadics [rate of 110/hr]

No single hour added up close to 100/hr, but shorter 15-30 minute spans were pretty good in between lulls.

After years of trying, I finally had a lens capable of f/2 and a fireball that wound up centered in the frame. It left a bright train that visually lasted over 30 seconds, followed by an orange train that was picked up by the time lapse camera from 0940 to at least 1025Z ...so 45 minutes for sure.

Single shot at 2:40 local time / 0940Z
Sequence shot from 2:40-2:43 / 0940-0943Z — 12 August 2016


Time lapse video of the fireball
Sep 7, 2013
Strasburg, CO
I stayed out all night in my hammock in the backyard. Amazing show this year. Ran ultra wide on dslr in intervalometer mode so I wouldn't have to babysit the camera. Just watched and enjoyed. Haven't even checked pics yet, but if I find any good ones I'll post up.

Been having issues with wide lens even since a microburst flipped the tripod and cam into a gravel sandy road several weeks ago..so we'll see if anything worked or was in focus.

Jeremy Perez

Marc, I hope you got a few good ones—I'll be keeping an eye out to see what you post. Sorry to hear about the lens bashing.

I know that not everyone cares for the compositing thing, but the time lapse captured so many meteors I had to go for it. This merges numerous exposures shot over nearly 2 hours between 2:36-4:29AM (0936-1129 UT). It includes 48 Perseids and 5 sporadics. Each one has been de-rotated and re-aligned to the star field where it occurred to account for rotation over time. That also made it easier to pick out a couple of the sporadics that had roughly similar paths.

All but four of the exposures were shot with a Canon T3i/600D and Rokinon 16 mm f/2 at 10 seconds, f/2, ISO 3200. The remaining four were captured by a Canon T3i/600D and Canon EF-S 10-22 mm at 10 seconds, 10 mm, f/3.5, ISO 6400.

Jan 14, 2011
St. Louis
Jeremy, those are fantastic. I went out for an hour Thursday night and didn't capture much. I saw a few nice fireballs though. My T6i's noise gets noticeable at 3200iso, so I have been sticking with 1600, which means anything less than a bright fireball ends up pretty faint. I have been tempted to just swing for the fences and use my 50mm F1.8 at 1600, hoping for one that makes it into that narrow field of view. I figure I'd need to stay out most of the night to get something with that, but my recent 12-hour days with 5AM wakeups don't work very well with those.
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Jeremy Perez

Thanks Dan—that's a tough spot to be in. From the same location/same night, I think maybe the 50mm would've pulled in 2 or 3 an hour? But that's with a pretty active shower under a really dark, dry sky. The 16 mm f/2 Rokinon is running about $350 these days. Not exactly cheap, but I guess not outrageous either. Since I do a lot of nightscape stuff, it kind of made sense for me, and I finally went for it earlier this year. It's been great so far. I haven't found a reliable daylight/storm chasing use for it though, even for darker situations, because the fixed focal length makes me too anxious.
Jan 10, 2014
Sheridan, WY
Nice shots @Jeremy Perez. I captured a few small fireballs with trains, but nothing like that one.

I shot from Beartooth Lake at 9,000 feet on Thursday night. I was worried about the weather with thick clouds at sunset, and a wildfire 7 miles away, but it ended up being a beautiful night.

I counted 250 meteors in 4 hours, and captured 93 of them, which I combined into this composite.

Night of the Falling Stars by Kevin Palmer, on Flickr

And here's a time lapse video made from over 1,000 images captured on the surrounding nights as well.


Jeff Duda

EF6+, PhD
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
Broomfield, CO
I found a field off the paved grid near Anadarko Thursday night from about 1:15-2:30 AM. Estimated about 50 in that time, and about a dozen brighter ones (dunno if they would be classified as fireballs, but they pretty much all left trails that fizzled after a second or two). This was in spite of occasional high clouds being spit away from overnight storms well off to the west, so I actually got two shows at the same time (regular distant lightning). What impressed me the most was the sector over which meteors appeared. Saw one in uncovered sky over basically all but the lower southeastern quadrant. Had a tight group come out of the southwest. They moved the same direction as the Perseids, though, so I wonder if they were actually Perseids as well. Saw about 5 or so that moved towards the NW, as opposed to the SW motion of basically all the others. Not sure what those ones were. One of them was a bright orange one, whereas the rest were all green/white.

I used to lay out at night and watch them every year as a kid in Iowa. Helped that I got well away from city lights, but this was the single best outing I've ever personally had. Brought my camera, but didn't shoot. Don't have a wide angle lens and they were too infrequent for me to stand there holding the shutter down for a few minutes at a time.
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Jan 18, 2015
Tucson, AZ
I think composites work just fine in the right light. Meteor showers especially
Which direction were you facing Jeremy? I was shooting towards the radiant. The first location I wanted was killing me with the mosquitos. I was planning on shooting north, northwest to have the radiant in the upper right of the frame, or just off frame, with a cholla for the foreground

Jeremy Perez

@kevin-palmer - Kevin, that shot and time lapse are awesome—it's insane how many meteors you captured. That looks like a great observing spot.
@John Moore - Thanks John!
@Jeff Duda - Jeff, that does sound like a good meteor shower observing run—especially with the added lightning bonus. I few times I thought I was picking up on a secondary shower, but managed to forget the details of where they seemed to be originating...too much camera checking. Kind of like chasing, sometimes I wonder what experiences I'm trading by getting so absorbed in capturing images. Nice that you were able to just soak it in without fussing over equipment.
@Kevin Rimcoski - Kevin, I was facing west for this set. I figured it would give the streaking rain effect if I got good meteor exposures and composited them. I also shot an eastward set to get more of the zooming radiant effect, but haven't processed those yet.
@Ben_Jacobi - Ben, that's a beautiful shot. You and Kevin got some good foreground lighting, which I wish I had paid a bit more attention to.