Chasing meteors in Tauranga

The night sky over Tauranga on Sunday morning (meteor can be seen on right-hand side). Photo: Jack Burden Images.

There aren’t many good reasons to get up at 3am in the morning – but the chance to catch a meteor shower just might be one of them.

Local photographer Jack Burden did just that on Sunday morning, capturing the brilliance of our Milky Way galaxy in the process.

The resulting photo is 30 images ‘stitched’ together to form a 180 degree field of view.

“Early on in the night at this time of the year you’ll see the Milky Way rising in the east,” says Jack.

“It sort of appears as a vertical line, coming overhead as the night progresses, before setting in the west.”

Most people who look up at the night sky probably won’t get the same impression, though. That’s because Jack’s camera picks up more than the eye can see.

“I do 20 second exposures per image, and push the camera to the limit to get so much more detail. I still get a buzz seeing it.”

While the Milky Way might dominate this image, you can still spot a meteor on the right-hand side, near the bright lights on the horizon – which, incidentally, are the lights of Tauranga city.

So yes, his camera’s good.

Jack says the meteor shower – known as ‘Eta Aquarid’ – has been on for about a week or so, peaking Friday and Saturday.

“It happens every year. It’s sort of like the remnants from Haley’s Comet. If you look in the north-east part of the sky, that’s where you’ll see most of the action happening.”

He’s hoping to do some night photography workshops soon, taking beginners out and teaching them the basics of using their cameras to shoot the night sky.

It’s a passion he’s had for some time now.

“I’ve been doing photography for about three years. As soon as I got my first photos I was hooked – I’m always looking for better techniques and new editing styles.”

Check out more of Jack’s photography at his Facebook page.


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