Photographer Captures Shooting Star Falling ‘Into’ Volcano

An Indonesian photographer has captured a remarkable photo of a meteor falling “into” a volcano, and the resulting shot looks like there’s a green beam of light shooting up from the crater.

Photographer Gunarto Song has spent recent weeks photographing Mount Merapi, the most active volcano in his country that has been regularly erupting since 1548.

While photographing the stratovolcano on May 27th, Song managed to catch a flash of green light that lit up the sky. He then shared the photo on Instagram with the caption “Meteor fell into the peak of Mount Merapi?”, and the shot has since gone viral.

At least two CCTV cameras pointed at the volcano also captured the flash at the same time:

Gunarto says he had been working to shoot panoramas of Merapi at night when the phenomenon occurred. He was shooting a few final shots before packing up for the night when the light appeared in the sky.

“What is certain is that when I took that photo, I really see a white light and it is quite bright,” Gunarto tells CNN Indonesia. “It fell from above, I just knew it was only one or two seconds, yes, very quickly, fell from top to bottom.”

His camera’s shutter speed was shooting 4-second exposures, allowing him to capture the shooting star as a trail of green light.

A crop showing a closer look at the green trail of light.

The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) believes what was captured was a meteor, and the blue-green color was due to magnesium content.

While the photo may look like the shooting star fell right into the volcano’s crater, it’s unclear whether that actually happened or whether it fell somewhere behind the mountain. From what’s seen in the security camera footage, however, it does appear that the meteor fell at a very close distance.

Back in 2016, photographer Daniel Kordan also accidentally captured a gorgeous photo of a shooting star streaking above an active volcano (Klyuchevskaya Sopka on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the northeast corner of Russia).

You can find more of Gunarto’s work on his Instagram and 1x.


Image credits: Photographs by Gunarto Song and used with permission