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Another Perseid, and the spy satellite | by Brendan Loy
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Another Perseid, and the spy satellite

After not capturing any meteors on camera all night, I got two in a row! Just 30 seconds or so after the previous picture, I took this one, which snagged another, brighter meteor. (Again, view at least the 1024-pixel-wide version, if not the full-size, 3888-pixel-wide version to really see it well. Or, check out the slightly enhanced and significantly enhanced zoomed-in versions.)


Unlike the previous meteor, I actually saw this one with the naked eye -- it was #64 in my count -- and I immediately knew that it was my best chance all night to get a good meteor picture. (I didn't realize that the previous photo had also captured a meteor.) I was so excited that I quickly looked away from the night sky, stared at the camera's LCD screen, and, when I saw that the meteor was in the frame, I literally pumped my fist, jumped for joy, and proclaimed, "YES!" -- all this while standing in a parking lot by myself in the dead of night. :)


The same satellite from the previous picture (which I'm guessing is a secret military spy satellite because it doesn't show up on the public list of satellite passes) is also visible here, if you view the photo in its large or original size. You can also see the satellite again in the next picture, passing out of the camera's field of view.


This photo was taken at 5:39 AM, by which point the eastern sky was getting fairly bright. (Astronomical twilight was at 5:17 AM; nautical twilight was at 5:52 AM.) But the morning light wasn't yet disturbing this view, which is looking west. The brightness near the horizon is the same mystery light mentioned earlier (Zodiacal? Nashville?); it's just less distinct here because the photo is only a 15-second exposure, instead of 20, and the camera isn't pointing at the brightest spot. ISO 1600.

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Taken on August 12, 2008