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Below the Belt [5_020853]

Out of 1600 photos... one appears to contain a Leonid. Whew!


This shot was desperation. After pointing my camera toward the East where San Jose, California is for about 3 hours, I gave up. The sky glow was just too strong and I wasn't seeing much activity prior to Leo rising. I repointed to the west where the sky was darker. From the beginning of my vigil until the end I saw 2 Taurids (both bright) and two Leonids. That was after about an hour and a half of watching. Of course none of those meteors was in the field of view!


After I turned the camera southwest in the general vicinity of Orion I went in for sleep setting the alarm to come back out around 5 am. I didn't do that!


I'm assuming that it traveled left to right which consulting the sky charts this reddish meteor streak appears to be coming directly from the Leonid radiant point as it passes through the constellation Orion (also called the Hunter). Even more interesting, the meteor is passing below Orion's belt and very close to the Orionid Nebula - the fuzzy patch two points of light down from the middle of the streak.


I've provided this for you in full size. It has been cropped to 8x10 format and contrast enhanced. Also, I used a custom white balance determined at the beginning of the shoot.


I employed a shooting strategem learned from stargazer95050. Specifically, these were shot at ISO 1600, f/5.6 for 10 seconds. The focal length was 23mm on a 1.6 crop factor Canon 50D camera.


I power my rig with a jump start battery. It ran for more than 6 hours, though not always shooting. I set the camera to capture in RAW2 format (1/4 of full size) and filled an 8Gb, and two 4Gb cards.


At the right edge you can make out an oleander bush in my back yard.


© Copright 2009, Steven Christenson

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Taken on November 17, 2009