Meteor Photo Tips

Photographers should go to safe locations that are far away from the haze of cities. Dust in the atmosphere in metropolitan areas will scatter moonlight and make the sky too bright to photograph or see the meteors well.

Jenniskens suggests that people who wish to contribute digital images to scientists should first use their cameras' "clock set" options to set them to the correct time, accurate to within one second. To find out the correct time, photographers can dial time-of-day services provided by telephone companies in their local areas. For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, photographers can dial the letters on their telephones that spell "popcorn" (415-767-2676).

Photographers should place their cameras on tripods and use a "night," "bulb" or similar camera setting in order to shoot meteor pictures with exposure times of 10 seconds, one after the other. Photographers should set the camera's light sensitivity to ISO 1600, according to Jenniskens. "Choose a fairly small field of view that is no larger than the square of (the constellation) Pegasus," he said. "Take many successive 10-second-duration exposures," he added.

According to Jenniskens, volunteers should not move their cameras once they are set to take images, so that the frequency rate of the meteors can be measured. After the shower, each volunteer should record his/her observing location on a map and "do not alter the digital images because scientists will use photo-editing programs to analyze the different colors in the images to learn about the meteors' compositions," Jenniskens advised.

According to Jenniskens, people interested in videotaping the meteors also should first set their camcorder clocks to the correct time. "Set the camera so that the time is recorded on the video picture (date not needed)," Jenniskens said. "Mount the camcorder on a tripod, and then point to a region in the sky with many bright stars. Zoom in enough to see those bright stars in the video. Continue videotaping for the duration of the shower. Do not move the camera during the shower. Later, watch the video to find the meteors and provide a list of times, and record your location on a map," he noted.

Those people who would like to contribute their images and other observations to researchers should send them by e-mail to Also, please submit your photos to for public display.