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Guide shooting stars photography
Reading time: 5 minutes - 04 January 2023 - by Markus Igel

Guide: How to photograph shooting stars?

In recent years, we increasingly perceive shooting stars, but: "what kind of shooting stars are there?", "How to photograph them best?", "What lens is needed for shooting stars?" we want to answer the most important questions in this post!

What lens do I need to photograph shooting stars?

To photograph shooting stars, you should usually use a wide-angle lens with a focal length of 24mm or less. A wide-angle lens allows you to capture a larger area of the night sky, and therefore shooting stars that are farther away. A longer focal length, as with a telephoto lens, would mean that you would have less of the night sky in the frame, and thus fewer shooting stars to photograph.

However, it is important to note that for shooting star photography, you also need to consider other factors.

6 Tips for shooting shooting stars

Photographing shooting stars can be challenging because they are very fast and unpredictable. Still, it can be very rewarding if you can successfully capture a shooting star on image. Here are some tips on how to photograph shooting stars:

  1. Choose a dark location: pick a place where it is as dark as possible so that the shooting stars are easier to see. Avoid places with a lot of light pollution from streetlights or buildings. Use the site: lightpollutionmap.info and find out about local light pollution.
  2. Set the camera to manual settings: Use manual settings for exposure time, ISO and aperture to keep control over the image. An exposure time of 10-15 seconds and an ISO sensitivity of 800 to 1600 (6400 is also possible, it depends on the selected aperture) should usually be sufficient.
  3. Use a tripod: A tripod is important to keep the camera stable during the exposure time. Without a tripod, the image will be blurred and out of focus.
  4. Set autofocus to manual: Use manual focus to ensure that the shooting star is sharp in the image. Select a fixed focus point in the center of the image and focus it on the starry sky. (Infinity)
  5. To avoid camera shake, you should use a remote shutter release to trigger the camera from a distance. This way, you don't have to touch the camera to release the shutter. Alternate remote shutter release can be your smartphone or tablet with modern cameras.
  6. Be patient: Shooting stars are unpredictable and it may take a while for a shooting star to appear in the frame. So be patient and keep taking photos until you capture a shooting star.

We hope these tips help you successfully photograph shooting stars. Good luck!

When are the most shooting stars to be seen?

Most shooting stars can be seen during the shooting star periods, which last several weeks and repeat. The most famous shooting star periods are the Perseids in August and the Geminids in December. During these periods, there are usually more shooting stars than at other times of the year.

Shooting stars are formed when small particles from space enter the Earth's atmosphere and burn up due to friction and heat. These particles come from comets and asteroids and are called meteoroids. When a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere, it causes a shooting star.

There is no way to predict exactly when a shooting star will appear, but there are usually more of them to see during shooting star periods because the Earth flies through the debris fields of comets or asteroids during these times. If you want to photograph shooting stars, it is recommended that you wait and look in a dark place with clear skies during a shooting star period.

What are the shooting star periods?

Much like the seasons, there are a few different types of shooting stars that we may encounter throughout the year:

  • Perseids: The Perseids are one of the most well-known shooting star periods and occur each year in August. They are named after the constellation Perseus from which they appear to come. The Perseids are known to produce a large number of shooting stars, making them a popular time for stargazers and photographers. (Amount of shooting stars per hr. maximum: 100)
  • Lyrids: The Lyrids are a shooting star period that occurs in April and are named after the constellation Lyra. They are known to produce very bright shooting stars and are therefore also known as the "Lyrid Flash".
  • Geminids: The Geminids are a shooting star period that occurs in December and are named after the constellation Gemini. They are known to produce a large number of shooting stars and are therefore also known as the "Geminid rains". (Amount of shooting stars per hr. maximum: 150)
  • Quadrantids: The Quadrantids are a shooting star period that occurs in January and are named after the constellation Quadrans Muralis. They are known to produce a large number of shooting stars and are therefore also known as the "Quadrantid Rain". (Amount of shooting stars per hr. maximum: 120)

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