2012 Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks This Weekend!!!

Perseid Meteor falling over the Pacific Ocean south of Hilo

The Perseids are here! As seen on National Geograhpic’s website. Every year we enter a swath of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle sparking these “falling stars”.  Last year was a  bust with a full moon washing out all but the brightest ones.  As pictured below..

Perseid Meteor and Full Moon 2011

Perseid Meteor and Full Moon 2011

 Unlike last year, this year should be much better. The moon rises in the early morning as a crescent which is better than the bright full moon.  The best place watch is away from city lights where the light pollution takes over our night sky. Where ever you live just take a 30 minute drive out-of-town. This year we have a bonus!  Venus and Jupiter will align with the slender crescent moon in the eastern sky before sunrise in a dazzling morning sky show with a flurry of Perseid Meteors!  The best time to look is between 1am and 4am (NE) when the radiant is the highest in the sky. featured below…

Perseid Sky Map

 I have had the honor of photographing this meteor shower multiple times from many places. Last year I photographed it from Utah, Arizona and Pennsylvania and I’m planning on extending that streak to a couple additional states this weekend. Here are a few shots from past meteor showers.Perseid Meteor over the Utah Desert 2011.

Utah Desert 2011.Delta Aquarid - Glacier 2008

Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower 2008

Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2012

Quadrantid Meteor Shower 2012

Quadrantid Meteor Shower – Florida Keys

Perseid Meteor Shower

Perseid Meteor Shower 2010

Perseids – Big Island of Hawaii

Leonids 2011

Leonids 2011

Leonid Meteor Shower – New Jersey 2011

Volcano and Perseid Meteor 2010

Volcano and Perseid Meteor 2010

The Kilauea Volcano Caldera, the Milkyway and a Perseid Meteor , Hawaii

Lyrids 2012

Lyrids 2012

Lyrid Meteor Shower 2012 – Virginia

Quadrantids in the Florida Keys 2012!

Quadrantids in the Florida Keys 2012!


 On a single night of the year you can see a falling star, but there are nights where the chances increase by a ton!  The Perseids start in late July and last until  about the 18th of August, the greatest activity of the shower will occur this weekend so be sure to go outside tonight and make a few wis

You can see these meteors in any direction in the sky. Make sure you bring a camping chair or blanket and look straight up without focusing on any single area in the sky. If you choose to photograph the shower make sure you use a lens which can cover a good portion of the sky and bring lots of snacks! Try not to look at cell phones or use flashlights that aren’t “red lights” this damages your night vision. When you first arrive at your sight make sure you allow 10-15minutes for your eyes to adjust to the night sky. Do not look at or into any light sources, it will tak you another 15 minutes for your eyes to adjust into (night mode).

Check back for a follow up to the shower and happy meteor hunting!


Ultra Rare Lunar Eclipse Tonight!

At approx 2:40am EST Tuesday morning you will witness something that hasn’t been seen in 372 years… a Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice.  The Moon officially turns Full in the Northern Hemisphere at 3:13am EST on the 21st, at that time we will be in Mid-Eclipse. We won’t officially turn to winter until 6:38pm EST (Thanks John!).  Dating back to year 1, yes, the last 2000 years this has only happen one time, in the 1600’s and it won’t happen again until a closer 2094. The eclipse will last 1 hour and 10 minutes or until 3:51am EST. Watch the Full Moon turn red tonight with me!

Here are some photos from previous eclipses.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lake Effect Snow Machine Cranks Up!!

The Lake Effect Snow Machine is cranking out feet of snow in many locations, some locations will get over 3 feet of snow. Some areas have recorded it snowing for more than 75 hours. With a new, “more powerful” storm on the horizon for this upcoming weekend there is no tell when the snow may end. Not only the possibility for a major snow event for the East Coast, the coldest air of the season will plummet behind the biggest storm of the year! Enhancing even more lake effect snow on top of the initial storm! This winter is looking like it could be a repeat of last year, and if so, I am looking forward to it!  Here are some photos taken yesterday December 6th, 2010 from Edinboro, PA just south of Erie.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos by Matt Simons. (Chewy Simons). Thanks Matt!  Hope you camera survived the intense snow and wind!

2010 Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Now!

The 2010 Leonid Meteor Shower is peaking right now! This year won’t be as intense as previous years with only 15-25 meteors an hour expected from experts. I remember the Leonid Storms of the late 90’s into the 3rd millennium were insane! The conditions in Southeastern Pennsylvania will be excellent!!! Despite 20-40mph winds and some chilly temps, there should not be a cloud in the sky. Look southeast in the dark early hours before dawn. The moon will have set allowing better viewing of the faint meteors. Here is a photo I took this August in Hawaii of the Persied Meteor shower! 120 meteors per hour!

More Nighttime Photography and Extreme Landscapes at  www.jeffberkesphotography.com

UPDATE: Cloud cover forecast for the dark hours before dawn Thursday Morning.

The Eagle Has Landed

This morning was dark and dreary, just the way the Bald Eagles like it around here. Usually, every morning it rains they are out cleaning themselves and picking fish out of the stream.  This morning was very nice as the Eagles sat in front of a changing forest in autumn. Here is one shot from this morning of the female taking flight after a fish. How do I know it’s a female? Females are almost always larger than the male. Yup I said it!

Super Storms Drop Hail and Deadly Lightning!

Monday night, October 11th 2010: Severe Weather pushes across PA along a front coming out of the Great Lakes. This storm was born in Lancaster County, Pa and moved East towards Philly.  Amazing Structure throughout the storm! Kind of resembles my “Midnight Lightning” photo that is currently in a National Geographic Photo Contest with Energizer Batteries.