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The Geminid Meteor Shower: When, Where, and How to Photograph

The Geminids are set to peek on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14.

Want to try to capture a photo of a meteor shower?

Well, first you need to ascertain when the meteor show will be at its peek.

The  the final major meteor shower of every year and likely to be the best, peaks overnight Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, and you may be able to see a great show on either side of those dates.

Earthsky.org reports the Geminids peak might be around 2 a.m. on Dec. 13 and 14, because that’s when the shower’s radiant point is highest in the sky as seen around the world.

"With no moon to ruin the show, 2012 presents a most favorable year for watching the grand finale of the meteor showers," Earthsky reports. "Best viewing of the Geminids will probably be from about 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on December 14."

NASA reports that the Geminids are a relatively young meteor shower, with the first sightings occurring in the 1830s with rates of about 20 per hour.

Over the decades the rates have increased, regularly spawning between 80 and 120 per hour at its peak on a clear evening.

How spectacular is it? Just take a look at this video of the Geminid meteor shower from the Huffington Post. You can also look at some spectacular photos of the Geminids.

Here are some tips: 

Do I Need A Tripod?

Yes, and the heavier the better!

ISO:

Start with 400 ISO and see how much detail you can pick up. If you aren't getting enough details, try 800 ISO.

Lens:

You want to use a wide(16-35mm) to normal lens(50mm) so you can get a wide range of sky area.

Shooting Mode: Has to be MANUAL as you need to set the shutter speed and aperture.

Aperture:

Use your widest aperture (smaller number, for example 3.5/4.5/5.6) to let in as much light as possible. If you find the meteors coming out a bit bright, you can stop down one setting. 

Shutter Speeds:

The longer the speed you use, the more meteors you will get. However, if you go too long, the stars will begin to form trails. To figure out how to long to shoot the stars without getting trails, you can use this general guide.
Divide 600 by the length of your lens, and that is how many seconds you should use. For example, if you are using a 17mm lens, 600/17mm = 35 seconds. 

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