Geminids 2017 (select 1920 and full screen for optimum viewing)
Geminid Meteor Shower, Dec12-14 2017
For this years meteor shower, I made big plans.
The moon was not an issue, rising as a crescent just before dawn.
The shower peak seemed to favour North America. All I needed was the right location.
At home in Southern Ontario it was a frigid -20c, but in Portal Az it was a wonderful +20c by day and 0c at night.
The best skies in all of America was where I needed to be.
I rented a house for three days in Portal, and set up multiple DSLR cameras to create my timelapse sequences.
It all worked out as planned,.
I recommend viewing in full screen mode.
The video begins with a single shot taken after sunset of a lone Geminid and the Zodiacal Light over Portal Az.
The first timelapse sequence was shot to give a daytime view of the Chiricahua Mountains.
The second timelapse sequence transitions from day to night and the Zodiacal Light.
On the left side of the screen, just after dark as the Zodiacal Light emerges you will see a bright fireball and smoke train.
That was one long, bright fireball, as this sequence was shot at 14mm.
The third timelapse sequence was taken with an 8mm fisheye pointing straight up. The field of view is 180 degrees, from horizon to horizon.
The camera ran all night revealing hundreds of meteors flickering against the rotating sky.
Towards dawn there are ripples in the atmosphere that remind me of gravity waves.
The zodiacal band is visible all night from these class 1 skies.
The fourth timelapse sequence was taken with a 24mm lens and the DSLR fixed-tracking the sky with Gemini, Orion and Taurus in the frame.
The fifth and final sequence was taken with a 14mm lens, and the DSLR mounted on a head panning from pointing towards the south horizon at nightfall to pointing west by sunrise.
All of the meteors in the last two sequences were processed individually by hand as a layer on top of the respective timelapse sequence, to create the meteor "lingering" effect. About two hundred layers were required to create this effect.
The final still frame is a composite of the brightest meteors from the tracked timelapse sequence, with a layer of Ha added, taken with a 14mm lens on my CCD cameras on the night of the 12th. I know it sounds like a lot!
But there you have it, one of the best meteor shower experiences of my life!