Getty Images
Getty Images

13 Stunning Images from the Perseid Meteor Shower

Getty Images
Getty Images

If you were wise enough to take our advice from earlier in the week, last night you got out to watch this year’s Perseid meteor shower. It comes around every summer, and Wednesday offered up the most breathtaking views of the event across the Northern Hemisphere. The meteors are actually bits of cosmic debris in the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet. When they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up, creating brilliant streaks across the night sky.

In the case that you weren’t able to escape from light pollution (or motivate yourself to wake up at four a.m.), we’ve rounded up 13 stunning photos captured by last night’s stargazers. Check out what you missed. If you captured some stellar images yourself, tweet them to @mental_floss, tag us on Instagram, or leave a photo comment on the Facebook post of this story.  

1. Silicon Valley // 10:01 p.m.

Photographer Wilson Lam: "Who says you have to leave the Bay Area to see the meteors?"

2. "Around the Radiant" // 3:09 a.m.

Photographer Kev Lewis: "Six meteors photographed coming from the radiant with Andromeda watching the meteor shower."

3. "Skyline" // 1:45 a.m.

Photographer Jono Kane: "One of my life-long favorite spots made for a great vantage point for viewing the incredible meteor shower tonight. Good times road trip with friends."

4. Twmbarlwm, Wales // 12:33 a.m.

5. Crissolo, Italy 

A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy.

6. Van, Turkey 

7. Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Nevada

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky above desert pine trees on August 13, 2015

8. Portencross Pier, Scotland

9. "Through the Milky Way"

"Successfully captured a #perseid #meteor soaring through the Milky Way last night. #shipsinthenight #itsamazingoutthere."

10. Democrat Point, New York

11. Dublin // 5:09 p.m.

12. "Meteor and the Milky Way" // 11:57 p.m.

13. Spruce Knob, West Virginia // 10:51 p.m.

NASA HQ PHOTO, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

In this 20-second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky.

Remember Every Moment of Your Next Vacation With this Tiny, 360-Degree Camera

Kiss those blurry, shaky, amateurish vacation videos goodbye: As spotted by Travel+Leisure, a new 360-degree camera called Rylo captures every angle of the action around you with little effort, and the high-definition footage can be edited directly on your phone.

The camera is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and has two wide-angle lenses that can be used to consolidate your footage into a 360-degree spherical video for when a single shot just won't cut it. Just press the record button, and the device does the rest of the work.

Alternatively, you can select just one angle or section of the footage and create a more traditional video—simply change the camera’s perspective by tapping on specific points of interest in the video. The choice is all yours with the accompanying mobile editing app, built for both Apple and Android phones.

Shaky hand? Fret not—the camera comes equipped with a stabilization feature, so even if you’re mountain biking down a treacherous path, your video won’t look like the sequel to Cloverfield. The aluminum camera is built to withstand the elements, but for an extra level of protection, Rylo makes a water-resistant Adventure Case.

Other nifty features include time-lapse and something called FrontBack, which lets you add a bubble on top of another video in order to show your reaction as the action unfolds in the background. If you’re skydiving and shooting the scenery around you, for instance, you can also show your face in the corner, should you want to capture those embarrassing reactions for posterity.

The camera is available on Amazon for $499. Check out the company's video below to see it in action.

[h/t Travel+Leisure]

The Strange Reason Why It's Illegal to Take Nighttime Photos of the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most-photographed landmarks on Earth, but if photographers aren't careful, snapping a picture of the Parisian tower at the wrong hour and sharing it in the wrong context could get them in legal trouble. As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the famous monument is partially protected under European copyright law.

In Europe, copyrights for structures like the Eiffel Tower expire 70 years after the creator's death. Gustave Eiffel died in 1923, which means the tower itself has been public domain since 1993. Tourists and professional photographers alike are free to publish and sell pictures of the tower taken during the day, but its copyright status gets a little more complicated after sundown.

The Eiffel Tower today is more than just the iron structure that was erected in the late 19th century: In 1985, it was outfitted with a nighttime lighting system consisting of hundreds of projectors, a beacon, and tens of thousands of light bulbs that twinkle every hour on the hour. The dazzling light show was designed by Pierre Bideau, and because the artist is alive, the copyright is still recognized and will remain so for at least several decades.

That being said, taking a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower after dark and sharing it on Instagram won't earn you a visit from Interpol. The law mainly applies to photographers taking pictures for commercial gain. To make sure any pictures you take of the illuminated tower fall within the law, you can contact the site's operating company to request publishing permission and pay for rights. Or you can wait until the sun comes up to snap as many perfectly legal images of the Parisian icon as you please.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]


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