In the old days, you needed a lot of film and a lot of luck to capture a photograph of a meteor streaking overhead.
Today, thanks to the digital revolution in photography, we have a much better chance of getting great photos of shooting stars entering Earth’s atmosphere.
Why? Because with digital cameras, you can take hundreds, or even thousands of cost-free photos per night of a meteor shower.
Here are some tips to get you geared up and prepared to get the shot!
Meteors can hit the upper atmosphere at any time, but there are some “showers,” when the Earth passes through debris from passing comets, that are known for providing an increase in the amount of activity in the night sky.
Many of you have heard of the Perseid and Geminids meteor showers, but there are others that occur throughout the year.
Regardless of the moon phase, or the amount of meteor activity, you need to get somewhere with dark skies in order to view the show.
You cannot walk out of the B&H SuperStore in New York City and look up to see a shooting star—in fact, it’s difficult to see any stars.
You will need to drive outside of the urban environment. Again, there are websites and apps that can help you find the dark regions of the planet and, hopefully, one is in your backyard or a short drive from where you live.
You can use almost any camera for the meteor capture mission, but it is best to have one that allows manual exposure control.
Also, there are some advantages to cameras with larger sensors for low-light photography. A DSLR or mirrorless camera with an APS-C or full-frame sensor would likely perform better than a point-and-shoot with a smaller sensor.
Some meteor chasers recommend extreme wide-angle lenses or even fisheye lenses. Some prefer standard wide-angle glass.
The advantage of the ultra-wide angle lens is that your field of view covers more of the sky and gives you a better chance of catching the streak of a meteor.
The disadvantage is that the sky will look more distant than it will with a mid-range wide-angle lens.
It is really a matter of preference, but it is best to stick to wide-angle optics because your chances of catching a streak in a normal or telephoto lens are considerably less due to the much smaller field of view.
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Pass it on: Popular Science