Shooting stars in summer 2020

The sky rains shooting stars in summer

In July and August, the sky is illuminated by satellites and airplanes in addition to the sun, moon, planets, comets and stars. But one thing makes many people even more fun in the sky in summer. These are the shooting stars in summer, more precisely meteors.

What else is going on in the sky besides the shooting stars discussed in this article, you will learn in the monthly articles from the series "The sky in the… ".

When do shooting stars rain in summer?

The Perseids rain most of the shooting stars in summer in mid-August.
Despite gathering clouds, I managed to catch a meteor (colloquially a shooting star) from the Perseid shower. The Perseids make shooting stars rain in summer.

The summer months of July and August have the most shooting stars in our latitudes, but also in our longitudes.

How to observe shooting stars in summer?

There are two ways to observe meteors (scientific term for shooting stars).

The romantic version of watching shooting stars:

Go to a quiet and dark place with a loved one, a blanket, a good drink. Make yourself comfortable and look to the sky. Talk about matters of the heart and just try to see shooting stars. I am sure that it will work under these conditions. If not, you had a great quiet time together.

Important: Make a wish for every shooting star or meteor and keep this wish to yourself.

Now I have recorded star trails for the first time. Here you will also find a shooting star to the right above the church tower, more precisely a meteor. The cardinal direction is north-northwest.
Now I have recorded star trails for the first time. Here you will also find a shooting star to the right above the church tower. The cardinal direction is north-northwest.

Watching shooting stars planned

The dark place, the blanket, the good drink and the loved one are welcome to be part of this excursion into the night. Because with the right plan and normal camera equipment you can watch the shooting stars in summer.

To increase the chances of success, deal with the Radiant. This refers to the point in the sky from which the meteors seem to emanate. With the app PhotoPills, which I also use, the Radiant is displayed to you. The developers of the app have produced a video explaining how to use the app to observe shooting stars in summer.

The app currently costs about 11 €. There is this good tool for Android and iOS and I can recommend everyone to use this app.

From here supported by product placements!

You then align the camera on a tripod to the radiant, a wide-angle lens with as open an aperture as possible will be used. Depending on the camera, you now have different ways to capture the meteors on the memory card.

Capture shooting stars in summer with Olympus Livecompsite

With the Olympus OM-D E-M 10 and E-M 1 , Olympus has established Livecomposite. This setting allows star trails to be recorded as a RAW image without the subsequent use of software such as StarStaX. So just let your camera run, enjoy the drink, the conversations about matters of the heart and the togetherness.

Shooting stars can also be seen in the sky in January 2020
These star trails are the result of 180 images. On the right, slightly above the middle, two shooting stars can be seen, which have immortalized themselves parallel in the picture.

Capture meteors in summer without Livecompsite

I'm away from Olympus. My daughter continues to use Olympus, so that pictures from this camera will certainly continue to appear in my portfolio – if she lends me your camera.

I switched to Sony's full frame. With the Sony A7 I can use an app that also records star trails. However, the output is "only" as JPEG. Since I edit all my pictures, I would accept losses here. But here, too, I can let the camera do the work first. With a shutter release I simply let the camera work and afterwards have the possibility to create a time lapse, to develop the individual images shooting stars and also to create star trails with StarStaX .
Shooting stars, satellites and star trails in one movie

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The Delta aquarids start with shooting stars in summer

At the end of July, more precisely on July 29 and 30, the meteor shower of the Delta Aquariids reaches its peak. In Berlin, the number of visible meteors is highest at 03:00. About 10 meteors per hour can be seen. At this time, the radiant (the point in the sky from which the meteors seem to come) is 25° above the southern horizon.

This rain of shooting stars can produce up to 25 meteors per hour. Light pollution — both from the moon and artificial sources — can affect the visibility of the otherwise beautiful meteor shower. Attentive readers know from the article "The sky in July 2020" that there is a waxing quarter moon at night. The light from a waxing moon will largely prevent you from seeing meteors. When the moon sets later in the evening, the chances of getting rid of the desires increase.

Two showers in one night – The Alpha Capricornids also show up

In the night of 29 to 30 July, the meteor shower of the Alpha Capricornids is also visible and also has its peak in this night.

The number of visible meteors is highest at 03:00; there will be about 2 meteors per hour in good conditions. The radiant is located 25° above the southern horizon, i.e. congruent with the Delta aquarids.

The Perseids crown the round of shooting stars in summer

Two years ago I already dealt with the Perseids. In this article, I also clarified that the wish fulfillers known as shooting stars are just space debris from comets.

These… are only dissolution products of comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle. Its orbit crosses the earth annually around August 12, so that during this time the Perseid showers also occur. From July 17 to August 24, the strongest activity of the Perseids can be observed. … Again, the best viewing time is between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., with the peak of over 100 Perseids per hour being reached at 6:00 a.m.

The shower rises towards the north-northeast and then moves towards the east-northeast. Thus, the shower moves slightly below the astronomical north pole towards sunrise.

from "The Perseid Showers"

If you have paid close attention so far, you will notice that at the end of July there are three radiants in the sky. The chances of being able to tie one's wishes to shooting stars thus increase massively.

I wish you a lot of fun with the sky observations. Tell other interested people about my site, share my posts and follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr.

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