Sunrise Point Meteor Shower
I arrived at Hurricane Ridge around 11:00pm to find the parking lot almost full. I knew there would probably be other people on the Ridge but I had no clue there would be so many. After finding a parking spot I proceeded to gather my gear, pull on my headlamp, and walked up to Sunrise Point. I passed a few people along the way and to my surprise there was only one other person about 30 feet below my desired destination. Woo Hoo! I was the only person on Sunrise Point. The view was amazing. Unlike a few days before when it was socked in with clouds and fog, it was now clear with a 360 degree view of everything. I could see Port Angeles, Sequim, Victoria B.C., and the Olympic Mountain range. After taking in the view, I first noticed how much light pollution was coming from Port Angeles, Sequim, and Victoria B.C. I could also see a slight glow to the east which might have been Silverdale/Bremerton or maybe even Seattle. Not sure. I then noticed the Big Dipper hanging out over Port Angeles.
Besides the Big Dipper in the upper left, you can also see Port Angeles (the small strip of lights at the bottom), and Victoria B.C. which is the lights just above Port Angeles. Yep, I can see Canada from my backdoor.
By the time I got to the Point, setup my gear, and took the above picture, I realized that I had about another hour before the moon was going to set. Wanting the best possible chance to capture meteors, the moon needed to be gone. While waiting around, and keeping an eye (and ear) out for the mountain goat I encountered a few days before, I noticed Mt. Angeles was being lit by the moon.
You can also see what I was talking about with all the light pollution glowing from behind the mountain. The lights on the far right are from Sequim.
It was now 12:45am and the moon had set. I was seeing a few meteors here and there, but had heard the peak time would be between 1:00 – 2:00am. Looking for a nice composition to setup my shot, I noticed the Milky Way and I really liked how it was sitting between a few trees in the foreground. So, at about 1:30am I setup my camera to take 10 continuous shots every 22 seconds, with a shutter speed of 20 second. When it was done taking the 10 photos I’d do it again. This went on for almost an hour. I was hoping that if I kept my shutter open long enough I would increase my chances of capturing a meteor. I had no idea if this was working. I could see meteors all around me, but taking into consideration that a meteor travels at about 140,000 miles per hour, I wasn’t too surprised that I couldn’t see any when viewing each photo on the back of my camera.
I packed up all my gear and headed down to the parking lot. Almost everyone had left except for a few hardy stragglers. I snapped a few more photos before leaving at 3:00am.
Back at home, and viewing the images on my computer, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had indeed captured a few meteors. Out of 200 photos I ended up with about 10 that included meteors. The image below is a combination of 11 photos.
I had a great time and looking forward to the next meteor shower with clear skies.