Exploding Meteor Over Northern Michigan

November 06, 2014

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Photographer: Ken Scott; Ken's Facebook page
Summary Authors: Ken Scott; Jim Foster

November 2014 Viewer's Choice

As I was making a time lapse video of the night sky one night last month, a meteor made a brief but unforgettable appearance. It wasn't the meteor that was unusual, it would be odd not to see one in a long time lapse with clear, dark skies, but rather the fact that it exploded -- at the 37 second mark of the video. This explosion was caused when the meteor broke up upon entering our atmosphere. The meteor was perhaps just big enough not to disintegrate, but it wasn't sufficiently dense to withstand the compression associated with increasing air resistance. Note that it took over 20 minutes for the smoke trail to dissipate. Photo sequence taken near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan on September 23, 2014.

Photo details: Blue and yellow luminance was adjusted in the photo sequence to help the smoke trail stand out a bit more.