So there is a meteor shower on August 12th in British Columbia, Canada, and I was wondering if there are any tips on taking photos of the meteor shower with a smartphone? Or should I simply take a video instead? I can't afford a professional camera unfortunately.


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    \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? Milky Way with a cell phone, how is this possible? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2020 at 6:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also you can check this: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/118057/… \$\endgroup\$ Aug 2, 2020 at 6:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Short answer: you can't take good photos of meteor showers with a smartphone. None of the computational photography tricks smartphones use to take good low light images work with moving targets that are only dimly visible for a few fleeting seconds. Please see; Are meteors dim? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Aug 2, 2020 at 10:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ As of mid-2023: Smartphones are getting pretty good at this. At least one app for iPhones now even has a "meteor mode" that automates it! \$\endgroup\$
    – feetwet
    Aug 15, 2023 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


The meteor shower is the annual Perseid Meteor Shower each year at about this same time.

Cellphones aren't ideal. While I cannot rule out the possibility of capture a meteor using a phone, it is unlikely to capture very many. This has to do with the unpredictable nature of the meteors and the techniques used to capture them (basically a form of lucky-imaging.)

The typical technique to photograph meteor showers is to:

  1. Place the camera on a tripod. You'll be taking long 30-second exposures. Hand-holding the camera isn't possible.
  2. Use the widest lens you have available. You cannot predict when or where a meteor will appear. You can only predict that it's direction of travel will be roughly "away" from the radiant point. But meteors do not necessarily appear at the radiant... they can appear anywhere.
  3. Set the camera to shoot 30-second exposures ... continuously. E.g. put the camera in continuous burst mode (e.g. typically used for action photography) but set the 30-second exposure duration. Use a wired remote trigger that has a lock-switch on the shutter button and 'lock' the shutter so it takes shot after shot after shot.
  4. While a meteor can appear at any time, the best times tend to be in the hours before dawn ... this is because that's when you are on the side of the planet crashing into the comet dust.

Given the need to run continuous long exposures for hours on end ... cellphones usually don't offer a way to do that. If your cellphone does allow for enough manual control to support this technique, then you're in luck..


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