Look up tonight - The Perseids Meteor Shower is on. When to see, why, how and tips for photography

Welcome Back to our Friday Night Blog. 

One of our Southern Hemispheres most radiant light shows is upon us. Although Perseids is an annual event, she is expected to be particularly radiant this year peaking in our region tonight August 11 and 12. (Also again in December but the sky is best tonight)

In our country NSW location, we are blessed with incredible dark skies, if you are in town or a city and have the time, escape the light and head towards less light pollution.  Tonight, the moon should be around 8% brightness making the show easier to see.

(Shot by Denise in the Warren Bungles NSW) 

Winter is ideal for night photography or just appreciating with the naked eye the beauty of our solar system. The crisp cold air gives the night sky a more intense darkness. We are aiming for a cloud free evening for viewing. For us in farming communities, the air is clean with less chance of dust, stubble burn, or harvesting happening. (In summer, these atmospheric conditions help produce spectacular sunsets)

So, what are the Perseids?

They may sound fancy, but these come from a good old comet. The showers occur when Earth passes through the debris and dust left behind. For the Perseids, the responsibility lies with the Comet Swift-Tuttle.  As our planet travels through its wake, tiny pieces of debris collide with our atmosphere, burning up and creating the streaks of light we see.  Expect to see around 1 -2 meteors per minute tonight and tomorrow and perhaps Sunday.


  • Find a secluded spot, away from the lights. Your eyes may take 15/20 minutes to adjust to the dark.
  • Dress for the weather- baby its cold outside! Bring a blanket too. This is a waiting game. Below are my top takes for sky gazing.    
Can't leave without my Hi Beam Torch Beanie and Grampians Blanket!
  • Once you have found your spot and you are comfortable, lie down and look up at the sky. There are many apps you can look up for sky maps, these provide lots of great information about what you are looking at. I use and recommend “The Night Sky” (you can do a 30-day trial) you can point your phone screen at any area of the sky, and it will tell you what you are looking at, it's very groovy!
  • While the meteors will streak across the entire sky if you look to the North, they tend to radiate from the constellation Perseus (hence the name “Perseids”). There’s no need, however, to focus on a particular spot; just lie back and enjoy the view.
  • The best time for us in the southern hemisphere is 1 – 2 hours before dawn.


You will need a decent SLR camera with a wide-angle lens and a tripod is a must. Don't leave home without a full charge of battery!

  • Switch your camera to full manual mode including your focus.
  • Start with an aperture of f2/8
  • Use a shutter speed of 20 secs.
  • ISO setting of 2000 + as a starting point. You do not want too much grain/noise in your images. You can go up higher to 4000 depending on the sensitivity of your camera. Full frame or medium format is best for this style of long exposure night photography.
  • I have found using a 20mm lens is amazing, but you can use up to a 28mm to gain that beautiful wide landscape sky.
  • White balance around 4000 Kelvin
  • Shoot RAW Files in your camera. JPEGS are unforgiving in your post-production process.
  • A head torch is a must if you are clumsy like me! (Don’t forget to turn it off once you have your settings right.
  • Use manual focus or set your focus to infinity.
  • If this is your first attempt, don’t give up, it's all trial and error and remember some of the best mistakes are magic! After photographing for the first time at night I became addicted. It's quiet, calm and oh so beautiful.


Great image by Jirsa Photography

Whether you’re an avid stargazer or simply curious, this celestial event is one you won’t want to miss. So, grab a lounge chair, flee to a dark spot, and watch cometary debris blaze through the atmosphere!

Cheers to the weekends!

x Denise


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