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Photographer Captures Amazing Meteor Explosion Mid Time-Lapse


It’s a day of awesome astronomical phenomenon on PetaPixel. We started off the day by sharing a stunning time-lapse by photographer Maciej Winiarczyk in which he captured noctilucent clouds and the aurora borealis at the same time.

And now, as you get ready to hit the home stretch and finish Monday on a good note, we have yet another amazing (and accidental) time-lapse capture: While photographing the 2013 Perseids Meteor Shower last week, photographer and designer Michael K. Chung was fortunate enough to capture an actual meteor explosion.

Initially, Chung believed that he had captured a meteor explosion and the resulting debris scattering, but that’s not entirely accurate. According to astronomer Daniel Fischer, what we’re looking at in the time-lapse is actually “a persistent train after a Perseids fireball, being torn apart by upper atmosphere wind shear.”

In plain English, that means that the meteor did indeed explode/break apart in the atmosphere, but what it left in its wake wasn’t a debris cloud but an expanding ring of hot, glowing gas known as a “persistent train.”

A similar capture taken during the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower by photographer Ed Sweeney.
A similar capture taken during the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower by photographer Ed Sweeney.

Speaking with Universe Today, Chung explained that the actual event probably lasted about 20 minutes given that he was taking 20-second exposures once every 22 seconds.

Taking advantage of all 18 megapixels of resolution offered by his trusty 7D, he’s able to zoom in on the phenomenon and give us a much closer look at the explosion itself, once at 24fps and once at 12.

Check out the video at the top to see it all for yourself, and next time you get a chance to shoot a meteor shower be sure you take advantage. Who knows, you might not even need the meteor shower; the last time we saw this phenomenon was back in February of 2012 during an epic time-lapse of the night sky.

(via Laughing Squid)

Image credit: 2009 Leonid Meteor by Navicore