Catch a falling a star and put in your camera, never let it go away. . .
—With apologies to Perry Como.
We’ve spent a lot of night in the Mojave Desert of Southern California, a place where you can see the Milky Way in all its glory, gazing up at the stars and watching for meteors in the spectacular celestial panorama overhead, free of the pollution of city light.
One photographer did the same thing, but armed with a camera and shooting still images to use in making a time-lapse video, and came away with a wonder, captured in full 2160p resolution [just click on the YouTube gear tool and set it to your screen’s maximum resolution; you’ll be glad you did].
From PetaPixel, out favorite spot for photo news and dramatic videos:
Photographer Nao Tharp of Los Angeles, California, just released this short video that shows something neat he captured on a freezing cold winter night back on December 12th, 2015. While shooting a time-lapse of the Geminid meteor shower at Red Rock Canyon State Park in California’s Mojave desert, his camera caught a bright meteor explosion and a resulting orange glowing plume that lingered for about 40 minutes.
The video shows the same explosion at different magnifications and playback speeds.
And the video itself from naotharpstudio:
STARBURST 4K -Geminid Meteor Shower 2015
On a freezing cold winter night on December 12th 2015 at Red Rock Canyon State Park in Mojave Desert, California, I managed to capture an extraordinary astronomic phenomenon: a meteoroid explosion.
I was out there all by myself in pitch-dark desert shooting astrophotography time lapse hoping to capture a few frames of light streaks from Geminid meteor shower which had peaked a few days prior to that night. It was indeed a great night with dozens of sightings of sparking meteoroids, but the result of time lapse sequence was overwhelming and mind blowing. It was a bright spark illuminated the entire rim of eroded sandstone canyon, followed by orange fume floating in the sky.
According to my calculations based on the time lapse setting and EXIF data from the resulting images, the glowing orange fume floated in the air for a matter of 38.5 minutes until it framed out.
As the icy particle of the meteoroid about the size of a sand grain enters the Earth’s stratosphere at a such high speed, it explodes and turns into plasma due to atmospheric friction. The energy of the plasma stimulates molecules of the air and forces them emit photons, resulting in the glowing fume-like particle that floats in the sky.
I am in awe and honored to be able to share this rare astronomical event with you. Thank you for watching and your support.
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PetaPixel has stills at their site, and links to more.
And that initial reference is to a song that hit the number one spot back when esnl was still in grade school, sung the original Mr. Smooth, Perry Como: