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Q: Lyrids

  1. Apr 13, 2012 #1

    Andy Resnick

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    I'm hoping for some advice from those who know better. The Lyrid meteor shower is going to be best viewed here (North America) in the 'wee hours' of April 22 (call it 2 am). Since I'm not a vampire, I'd like to make a plan now in order to prevent making a stupid mistake due to being mostly asleep.

    I'm not sure what the optimal lens to use is- I have a choice of three, ranging from moderate telephoto (85mm) to wide angle (24 mm), all about the same maximum f/#. To give a sense of the field of view, 85mm will just fit the entire constellation Orion in the frame, while 24mm will fit about 20% of the sky. I'm not sure how 'big' the meteor shower will be.

    I'm also not sure what the best strategy is- longest possible exposure times (say minutes), or more moderate ones? Again, to give a sense of my reality, star trails become noticeable around 1-3s exposure (depending on the lens), and the background light pollution becomes objectionable (using ISO 100) at around 10s (full aperture) or 15 minutes (f/22).

    Related to this, in terms of ISO/aperture balancing, should the lens should be stopped down some to minimize aberrations, forcing a higher ISO setting, or leave the lens wide open and use a lower ISO?

    Or can I stop the lens down *and* use a low ISO setting because the meteors are so bright?

  2. jcsd
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