Watch a Meteor Explode (Beautifully) in Mid-Air


Marc Donahue of PermaGrin Films was in Santa Cruz, Calif., shooting time-lapse video of the gorgeous night sky. The view was nice enough as it was, but then something unexpected—and pretty extraordinary—happened.

As Donahue writes on his Vimeo post: “While shooting some time-lapses, we saw a huge bright flash in the sky. It even lit up the entire ground. We looked up and saw a huge streak across the sky of burning dust.”

The bright flash was an exploding meteor, which most likely erupted as a result of the air resistance force pushing against the front of the meteor caused by the extreme speed of its descent into Earth’s atmosphere.

Donahue writes that dust fell from the sky for 50 frames of the time lapse, and at 15 seconds long apiece, that means the remains of the zooming rock were falling to earth for about 12.5 minutes.

[h/t Digg]