Leonids or Bust

Written by on September 11, 2009 in Fun with 0 Comments

orion2009_11_18_1286_r2After a full day’s work, 3 hours commuting, slaving over a hot stove and hardly eating all day (can you tell that I am pre-staging some excuses here) I was a little tired to begin with.

I thought I would interrupt the drudgery of the work week with a little evening’s outing, a pseudo-vacation from the mindless TV watching that blue-collar schlub’s like myself partake in after work.

Then again, maybe dragging your pregnant wife out into the frozen deep woods in the middle of the night to see a meteor shower isn’t such a great idea anyway. Well, the whole thing was mostly a bust…

Granted we got there a little early, it was about 10:30pm. As we approached a clearing in the woods I happened to glance up to the eastern sky and see the largest meteor I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately just as I was shouting “There’s one!”  Sarah looked away, distracted by a noise coming from the woods. She had missed it… damn.

A bright streak slashed across sky… it was big, really big! Its broad flare was coloured candle-flame yellow, had a red twinkling tail and a short lived smokey exhaust. How exciting! But I hadn’t had setup the camera yet. I thought it would be one of many so I didn’t worry. And with that, we waited…

It was only slightly below zero, so I wondered how long it would be before our toes and finger tips would send us back to the car. I imagined the excitement of thousand of meteors keeping us entertained, enough to easily ignore the effects of the cold. Alas, I brought us out too early and for the next hour there was nothing to be seen.

In the meantime, I dipped into my toy box and finally setup my camera pointing it towards Orion. With the camera equatorial mounted and with an elastic band and pencil eraser holding down the trigger (I simply will not pay hundreds of dollars for a electronic shutter release!), I fired off a 10-15 minute exposure. I was pleased with the results (see Above) eventhough I wasn’t lucky enough to capture a meteor.

As 11:30pm approached, the cold and sleepness got to us both. We headed back to the car. As we walked I spotted a one more, “There’s another!”, I yelled but the denouement of the evening had already played out to completion.

So I guess it wasn’t a complete Bust but ‘oh-to-be a teenager again’… I would have stayed up until 3-4am with no problem… now in my late-30-something’s it is more of a challenge. Besides, I am more of a morning person anyway. Although if I were a teenager again, I probably couldn’t have afforded all the camera and telescope equipment I was carting around. Well, I can’t afford it now much either, oh well…

Photo was taken through a Canon 40D – equatorial mounted.
ISO 1600 / f16 – exposure 12 mins.
high ISO/long exposure noise reduction –  turned on

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