spaceSpace and Physics

Serendipitous Meteorite In Indonesia Makes Volcano Look Like A Supervillain's Lair


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockJun 4 2021, 15:03 UTC
Meteor over Mount Merapi

Meteor over Mount Merapi. Image courtesy of (C) Gunarto Song

Indonesian photographer Gunarto Song has snapped a truly incredible image. What appears to be a greenish-blue meteor is seen streaking over the peak of Mount Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia.

Song took the photograph on May 27, sharing the now-viral image on his Instagram with the caption, "A meteor fell into the peak of Mount Merapi?".


Although it looks like the volcano would make an excellent evil lair with the power to shoot laser beams, there’s nothing nefarious about it. It is indeed most likely a meteor. The color of a meteor depends on its composition, and with this shining a bright green, it's likely it was rich in magnesium. 

It could even be possible to work out which meteor shower this belongs to but on the day the image was taken there were two actually two meteor showers. 

volcano laser beam
All the best villains' lairs have laser beams. Image courtesy of (C) Gunarto Song

The Eta Aquariids were towards the end of their shower on May 27, while the Arietids were at their beginning, so it could have been from either. Both tend to be more visible before dawn. Given that the image was snapped at 11:07 pm local time, the former might be more likely than the latter. The Arietids is one of the most intense meteoroids streams with up to 60 shooting stars an hour but most of them streak through the sky during the daytime so we don’t see them.

No matter its origin, its final blaze-of-glory destruction in the atmosphere is a sight to behold, captured in an incredible series of photographs.

Pew Pew. Image courtesy of (C) Gunarto Song


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