Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Orionid Meteor Shower


WOO HOO, finally a break in the clouds, mind you it was going to happen between 1 am and 6 am but it would give me lots of time to catch the Orionid Meteor shower and get some pics.

Woke up later then I expected, 3 am, no problem, jumped out of bed, had my coat on already, start driving to my spot, drive back to pick up my camera I forgot, get to my spot again, the show was about to start.



Set up my camera, grabbed an image of the earthshine Moon, above image, changed lens to my fisheye and start taking pics, all this happening within 20 minutes of me waking up, a new record!!!

As I'm leaning against my car in the cold, I had a thought, why not sit in the car out of the cold and take pics, my camera shutter button cable would be just long enough, so I place the tripod right against the passenger side door, enter the car through the drivers side, crawl over the stick shift, my foot hitting the radio button blasting me into the heavens, hitting my head on the ceiling light, I was now officially awake, as I like my music very loud.

Then as I was looking at the cameras LCD screen I noticed everything was out of focus, forgot to focus when I changed lens, no problem, I squeezed through the window and car frame to adjust the focus, almost reached the lens focus ring when I got stuck, something on my person got stuck on something on my car, I tried to back up into the car when I found there was no give, alright I thought to myself, I've been in worse situations, time to work the problem.

Got one hand in the car after much struggle to find out a string on my jacket zipper had hooked the window handle and had to be lifted up and off, seems easy enough, all this wouldn't have happened if only I would have had the window all the way down, but nooooo, I didn't want to let any cold air in, so I finally free myself get back in the car start taking pictures again and find, gee it's out of focus, repeat everything except this time I open the window all the way and focus the camera.


Every October and May the Earth travels through the dust trails left behind by Halley's Comet, as the dust particles smash into our atmosphere at speeds of up to 160,000 mph they excite or light up our atmospheric atoms creating what we call meteors.


In October we call them the Orionids, in May the Eta Aquarids. Even with the Moon out I was able to spot around 20 an hour, an excellent showing for the Orionids this year. On average they were small and fast except for a couple, the meteor in the image above, behind the tree was almost like a fireball, lit up the sky.


The above image is a daytime crescent Moon, I took this one 5 hours after the above earthshine image, if you're interested in winning 50 pairs of Hanna Montana/Miley Cyrus 3D glasses, and who isn't, now is the time to take a pic of the Moon is in it's daytime crescent phase and enter it in the "Daytime Crescent Moon Contest" closing date is November 3rd.

I'll leave you now with an animated image of the Moon crossing paths with a jet.

51 comments:

Swubird said...

Bob:

First of all, I love the way you always label everything in your astro-pictures. It really helps a guy like me. I can't even find stuff let alone label it. Thanks.

Second, that's an hilarious story about getting stuck in your truck. Bob your going to beat yourself up one of these nights. You had better make sure that your wife always knows where you are.

Third. great images. The daytime moon is a fabulous shot. Bravo!

Happy stargazing

Drowsey Monkey said...

You need to be bubble wrapped! LOL I love reading about your late night adventures.

The daytime crescent moon is breathtaking ... and is my new desktop. My goodness ... just beautiful.

Genie said...

Ah, adventures of a space junky, too funny! You need a little pop-up hunting blind to sit in where the hole is higher than your car window would be but there are walls to shield you from the cold a bit. Well, that's what I keep fantasizing about using for shooting birds and other things.

Good stuff, Bob! I think I'll pop my head out right now and see if I luck out and spot a meteor!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks swubird, glad you like the labeling, I think it helps people remember things better.

lol, the wife never knows where I am, imagine the call at 4 in the morning, "Hello hunny, can you come get me, or at least watch me till the jaws of life get here.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, hey good idea genie, let me know if they sell something like that on ebay.

The meteors are still going on, I'd still be out there but stupid work and all,lol.\m/\m/

Genie said...

They've got a ton of them on Ebay. And they look so innocent, no way would the cops start bugging you even more for sitting in one.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks drowsey, wow,I am honored about you using my image as your desktop, actually I feel it's one of my better efforts to date, hey you can never go wrong with the Moon, it was placed high in the sky so I was able to coax some decent detail out of it, less atmosphere to go through, less interference, better detail.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, are you kidding me, they actually sell them? what are they called? that would be a cop magnet, by the way I already seem to be a cop magnet,lol, hey at least they didn't drive by when I was stuck, that could have been tricky to explain.\m/\m/

Richard McLaughlin said...

another impressive post, you get some great shots. I stumbled this post too.

self taught artist said...

bob the daytime crescent moon is painfully beautiful. great picture.
hey if you win those 50 glasses can i have one in my xmas stocking?

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, thanks Richard, thanks for stopping by.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Paula, can't win my contest,lol, if you want a pair of those 3D glasses I just happen to know the guy who has tons of them, moi,lol, just email your address to me and I can get you a pair no problem.\m/\m/

FRIGGA said...

Wow, you have some amazing pictures here - I really like that one of the moon (2nd to last pic) :)

Susanne49 said...

The last photo (animated) is genius! I love it. :)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks frigga, it's one of my favs too, thanks for stopping by.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Susanne, I thought it was very cool too, glad you noticed it's uniqueness.\m/\m/

virtual voyage said...

I'm still wiping the tears out of my eyes. What a great post. Love the titbit about Halley's comet - younger son was born Feb 86 and the nickname Halley stuck for years as we gave him the initials HAL.
Love the animated shot, btw.

sciencedefeated said...

What kind of camera do you use? These are good pictures.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, cool name HAL, I remember the show 2001 well. And so glad you like my little animation.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot sciencedefeated, like your name, my camera is a Canon D40, I find it works great for night time shots,even at ISOs of 3200.\m/\m/

kml said...

Your daytime moon is just as gorgeous as your nighttime ones! Most beautiful, Bob!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Kathy, I'm happy the way it turned out.\m/\m/

The Uneasy Supplicant said...

Shades of Laurel and Hardy! I love the way you keep everyone sucked in from mishap to mishap. LOL

Love your shot of the daytime crescent Moon. Again well done Bob.

Sorry I haven't been around but between University and the MW Society Press time is short.
Until next time Bob. Take care.
~JD

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks for dropping by JD, hope everything is going well for you with your courses, good to her from you again.\m/\m/

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

What a post, Bob!!! The best on the planet!!! Not sure if it was the sky shots or the tale of your getting stuck in the car. You should journal your night adventures and pub a book. I'd buy it. :D

GREAT imagery and antics. :D

Hugs, JJ

Richard said...

I watched the Perseids meteor shower a couple of months ago, only saw a few, they are so fast!
I never managed to get any photos though, you really need a decent camera and wide angle lens.

Genie said...

Yeah, they're really called pop up blinds. We used to have one but it was on loan. If I ever get the tele-converter lens I've been hoping for, I'll have to get the pop up blind too so I can shoot birds and beasties under cover. No to mention being able to shoot in the rain without one hand being needed to hold the umbrella.

There's probably some snazzy photographer's version of it, I've never looked.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks so much JJ, it was quite the night, hey if I ever decide to write a book I'll mail you one no charge. \m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Richard, you know I'm finding the best time for all showers is between 2am and dawn, the Perseids were pretty good here at that time. As far as the camera goes I have a Canon 40D and the wide angle lens I use is a Tokina fisheye, it does an awesome job.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks again genie, I can see the advantages of having one, I've been looking into getting a tele- converter lens as well mostly for the Moon and Sun close ups.\m/\m/

Livingsword said...

Hi Bob….

LOL

Ok I take it you slept in your coat…but not in your car? Where’s the dedication Bob?

You drive a stick shift? What kind of music? I like my music loud but Chocolate Girl always turns it down when she gets in….

The trials and tribulations of an Astrostuff expert….that’s the dedication I want to see!!!

I thought the dust bunnies that hit the Earth’s atmosphere were from the Bunny Comet! I learn so much here….

Wonderful images and words Bob…thanks so much…

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, livingsword, the car seat isn't long enough, don't think I haven't thought or tried it,lol.

Not a standard, just an automatic stick shift, the "awannabe" sports car driving stick shift, which I drive in my imaginary world, the music, which my wife always has to turn down when she gets in the car was "The Best Of Heart" and boy was it loud, had the radio off on the way out, not in the mood, plus it would have woke up my wife, lol.\m/\m/

Anna said...

Bob, oh you made me laugh, you actually forgot your camera, lol, and the radio, I probably be in total shock after that one. BTW thanks for sharing all the good stuff as always. May be one Matthew will be a bit older, I will do those night trips also. Nice photo of the moon crescent during daylight, I do take some too if I get opportunity....btw I found this article, something to look forward by the end of this month: http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/education/astronomy/tapping/2008/2008-10-22.html
Thanks for the laughs again, lol. Anna :)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks for the link Anna, I have a good shot of some earthshine I took just before the new Moon, I will be out just after the new Moon as well.

Hope you can get a shot of the daytime crescent, about the forgetting the camera, actually started heading to work, force of habit,lol, then I realized I wasn't working, started heading for my site when I thought I might need my camera, laughable now wasn't at the time.\m/\m/

John Maslowski said...

I love your site Bob, great layout. colors and images. Especially like your narratives. The last image, wow, very impressive. Years ago astronomy was a big hobby of mine, kinda got away from it and always said one day I would return to it. One thing for sure, I'll be returning to your site. Great work!

Rose said...

I always enjoy your posts Bob. The shots are great.

virtual voyage said...

Bob - have you come across these shots of Enceladus before? Just strayed across them in passing.

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/10/enceladus_up_close.html

Bob Johnson said...

Wow thanks John, I'm glad you being an awesome photographer like my images, means a lot to me, thanks for dropping by.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Rose, thanks and thanks for dropping by.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Wow VV, no I hadn't, thanks for the link, they are awesome!!\m/\m/

Anna said...

Bob thanks for the instructions on the for taking moon photos, I will try, now I have to wait for the clouds to show up, lol, its always like that one or the other.

Lol Bob, Yeah it happened to me once too, similar, I was going to work and I ended up driving to my old work place, can you imagine I actually came inside, lol, that would have been really funny....

And about the Moon, I like looking at it too, I remember when my parents got me my first binoculars in elementary school, I used to look and look at it.....

Thanks again, Anna :)

Ruth said...

Bob, will you forgive me if I'm more intrigued by your personal foibles than I am in the Orionid Meteor Shower (etc.)?

That cool blue moon photo is about as cool as your car must have been with the window down.

Bob Johnson said...

No problem Anna, hey I was really out of it that morning,lol, I have forgot the battery on a few occasions as well,lol, it's all this waking up fast at 3 in the morning,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, not at all Ruth, and lol about the cool Moon and car joke,lol.\m/\m/

lastAutumn said...

The scene is wonderful. Such moments happen rarely and you are lucky to catch them and take pistures. Thanks

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks so much lastatumn.\m/\m/

Peter said...

Hi! If it wasn't for your explanation of the Moon crossing paths with a jet, I would have said it was earth being hit by a meteorite. The same image also reminds me of how life started here on earth. It's funny what others see in an image.

Take Care,
Peter

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, awesome way to interpret the image, way to go Peter!\m/\m/

Ruth said...

Bob, please tell me the significance of \mm/\mm/. I have been trying to figure it out, I feel so dense. Trying to see something visually. Or maybe it's about "m" for "moon." Hmmm.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, it is actually a code for a rocking alien, if you click on the title of my posts it will open up another screen with just the post with a black background where you will see all the icons come to life, when you fist click on the comment tab to comment, you will see a little box of icons and the codes to produce them, eg lol code will bring up a laughing face, which you will actually see if you just click on the title of the post.\m/\m/

Ruth said...

Oooohhhhhh! I always just close that box. :| Now I'll check it out. :D