First Meteor Shower of 2012! The Quadrantids!

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning marks the annaual Quadrantid Meteor Shower. Last year was a major success and with the moon setting around 3am local time, this year should be awesome as well. Expect the radiant to rise in the NE sky around midnight with the peak condiitons occuring between 2am and sunrise (local time). meteors can be seen in any section of the sky.

 As an artic front pushes south the temperature will drop to around 10 degrees, the wind chills will be at or below zero degrees for much of the night. Florida is sounding really nice right about now 🙂 But reguardless of where you are in the northern hemisphere this show should “WOW” skywatchers all over. Rate can exceed 100 meteor per hour. You do not want to miss this one! Enjoy, and have a happy new year with the Quadrantids!

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Annual Orionid Meteor Shower Arrives Next Week!

The Orionids are a fairly dependable shower to go check out. As long as the Moon has minumal impact on the night sky. This years moon will be at 24%  (waning crescent) and the moon will set around 2:15am EST. Just in time for the show! As you see below the radiant will be high in the sky by 2am and this is when the most meteors will be seen. The radiant is the point where the meteor seem to originate from. So this would be from the constellation Orion.. Hence Orionids. You can also see them earlier in the evening, but the moon may block out the faint ones.  See the spec. chart below.

Meteor Shower: Orionids  (Appear to trace back to the constellation, Orion)

Peak: October 21/22nd

Hourly Rate: 20-30/hr

Direction: South 2am to 4am  

Speed: Swift Streak

During the peak.. (The morning of the 22nd)  find a nice place away from city lights and lights in general.. Even if you drive a few miles down the street, that can help you out a lot. Make sure you have warm clothes, a blanket, camping chair and some patience.! Let your eyes adjust to the low light for about 15 minutes and you will see a lot more stars as well as more shooting stars.

Most people don’t live in the middle of  the desert (the photo above). I took this photo  in July 2011 during the Perseid Meteor Shower. The orange dots are small town and thunderstorms over 150miles away.

Most meteor showers last for weeks. The above photo was taken July 31st, 2011.. The peak for the Perseids isn’t until August 12th, so that doesn’t mean you can’t see them before or after the “peak” date.

If you try to photograph a Orionid meteor: Try 800-1600 ISO and adjust your exposure from there. F/1. 4 to f/2.8 lens are the best.. But I usually shoot a minimum of f/4 all the time, If you think you need a 2.8 lens to capture a meteor then you need to think again.. you don’t need to waste your money, it won’t do much if anything for you anyway.. There are way more factors that come into play.

I’m planning on taking a 2 hour drive to view the Orionids this year.. Even though conditions will be favorable for my area. I’d like to get it darker, the meteors are just so much brighter against a dark sky.  If you see any let me know and share any photos you may get!

Let’s just hope the weather is good.. example: no clouds.