Content Frame
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Home  arrow Additional Writing in the World Projects  arrow The Perseid Meteors: An Informative News Feature  arrow Photographing Meteor Showers

Photographing Meteor Showers

Capturing a meteor on film takes some special equipment. Nighttime photography requires long exposure times and fast film. A tripod is also necessary to keep the camera still during the long exposure. However, once you have the correct equipment, taking photos of meteors is not too difficult. It mostly requires patience and a willingness to experiment.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provides the following tips for meteor photography:

Use high-speed film with an ASA between 400 and 800.
Set up your equipment far from any light sources.
Make sure your camera is on a stable surface, such as a tripod.
Point the camera in the direction you expect to see the most meteors.
Set the camera’s focal ratio (“F stop”) as low as possible, to gather as much light as possible.
Set the camera’s focus to infinity.
Release the shutter for 15 to 30 seconds per exposure.

NASA recommends testing your setup well before the night of the meteor shower’s peak. Take a few test pictures at different settings and have them developed. Keep a record of the F stops and shutter speeds you used for each exposure. Take your film to an experienced processor and tell them to expect very dim pictures. The resulting prints should help you decide what settings to use on the night of the peak.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “How to Photograph the Leonids.”; Near-Live Leonid Watching System, 2003. Available online at

Pearson Copyright © 1995 - 2010 Pearson Education . All rights reserved.
Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Permissions

Return to the Top of this Page