Meteor showers occur when the Earth’s orbit intersects with a trail of debris, usually left behind from a comet. They are named after the constellation that this debris appears to originate from. This origin point is called the “radiant”. The material becomes shock heated upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere at incredibly high speeds, burning away its layers as the surrounding gas becomes ionized, leaving behind beautiful streaks of light in the night sky. The color of this light is influenced by the chemical composition of the meteor and the composition of the gas in the atmosphere where the ionization is taking place.
The Perseids meteor shower is a result of the debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, and has its radiant in the Perseus constellation. These meteors tend to be brilliant green in color, with the larger ones fading to a peach color while still streaming across the sky.
I set out to image the Perseids this year, letting my camera run for hours taking over one thousand 10 second exposures. I sorted out my favorite meteor images and stacked them together to show the radiant of the Perseids. I also added a satellite that I captured along with a couple of non-Perseid meteors, because I thought it made the image look more interesting. Can you tell which ones “don’t belong”?