Make a wish over the Králova Studňa!

Make a wish over the Králova Studňa!

Make a wish over the Králova Studňa!

What a wonderful night of 11-12 August, 2016! As the prediction for annual Perseid meteor shower promised unusually high activity due to Jupiter’s gravitational influence to the stream of the debris of comet Swift-Tuttle, I was looking for really good spot to enjoy it. So I decided to spend this time in relatively new Dark Sky Park Králova Studňa in the Veľká Fatra National Park of Slovakia. Eventually, I was surprised twice: The activity of the shower was really higher, producing dozens of bright meteors, and the sky over Králova Studňa was really naturally dark, especially in zenith. With both of these, the experience of these Perseids 2016 was probably best in my life. Just for imagination, the image contains 104 meteors and 94 of them were captured during only night 11/12 August between 21pm and 2am UTC (the rest a night before). The brightest fireball was about -8 magnitude bright and for a fragment of second completely illuminated the night countryside! This overcame all my expectations and also the experience of wonderful Perseid 2015 in Kolonica Saddle.

The composition was taken during two nights around peak of Perseid activity (8-9 Aug. and 11-12 Aug., nights between were cloudy) with total exposure time of 9 hours. Using Canon 6D Baader IR Modified, the panorama of 23 segments was captured with Samyang 24 mm lenses, f2.8, ISO 5000 from tripod and Vixen Polarie mount. The pano was taken on 8th August, when the Moon was not disturbing that much. All the meteors were captured additionally with Sigma 15 mm (f2.8), geometrically corrected with panorama and stacked together. Due to the stereoscopic projection giving the non-curved horizon and arc of the Milky Way, the paths of meteors are curved as well. Except the meteor activity, you can notice green airglow, emission nebulae (NGC 7000 North America is very prominent), bright planet Mars close to the right edge. The yellow glow over the horizon in the right part of the image is caused by light pollution from Banská Bystrica. However, I have to admit that the place is really amazing for enjoying dark skies, considering the bad situation of central Europe. I would like to thank to Dušan Kováč and all the staff of hotel Králova Studňa and Pavol Rapavý of Rimavská Sobota Observatory for great support!