By Dan Coles
A photographer saw an enormous bright light in the sky and after blindly snapping his camera ended up taking an incredible shot of a meteor zooming towards earth.
Astrophotographer, Ari Rex, 46, based in Canberra, Australia, was out shooting the night sky when he saw a sky-covering light and heard a crackling sound.
When seeing the blinding light and hearing the crackling sound, he remembered he had set his camera up to photograph above him so he rushed over to check what had been caught – which turned out to be an enormous meteor explosion.
He reframed from showing the image for three years as he didn’t feel it was his best work until last month when he shared the image on a Facebook group and was inundated with messages saying he had captured a rare ground-hit meteor explosion.
Ari said: “As I was coming back on the night of shooting I spotted the milky way, so I set up my tripod and camera to snap pictures of it.
“All of a sudden I heard a really loud crackling noise, followed by a bang, and then light lit up the sky – I expected to be abducted or something.
“I checked my camera, which wasn’t set up properly for this kind of photography and expected not to see much but it was this amazingly bright meteor explosion.
“My camera was shooting in settings not fit for photographing the sky and I didn’t want to post it because I didn’t feel it was strong image, I had captured better meteor explosions before.
“I was invited to an Australian meteor Facebook group and decided to share it without thinking anything of it and it went crazy.
“People kept commenting how much they liked it, everyone was saying it was a ground-hit meteor explosion because of how low to the ground the light was.
“The lucky part is, if I was to use my usual exposure settings you would have only seen half of it, so it was pure chance that I managed to capture the whole thing.
“We’re not sure if it is definitely ground hit, but that’s what I’m being told by anyone that sees it and it was just a single photo, which makes it even rarer.”
Ari only started shooting randomly when he heard the crackle and saw an overpowering light in the sky when he snapped the amazing photo.
He was using unconventional settings, and if he had been using conventional settings, the camera would not have caught the light of the entire explosion.
He said: “I wasn’t following the rules for astrophotography when I took it, that’s why I didn’t expect anything to come from it but it turned out that using the wrong process made the perfect image.
“When I got home I checked the image and loved it but it was one of a lot of photographs, and I didn’t plan on ever revealing it to anyone because I only show my best work.
“As it turns out, this is probably one of the best astrophotographs I have ever taken.”
He posted the image on Facebook and of the professionals in the group who responded, they knew the area in Canberra where it was taken and believed it to be ground-hit, which is an incredibly rare and lucky shot go get.
Ari said: “Usually when a meteor explodes it will be black because it’s steel, but we think this was iron because the density of Iron will be of what allowed it to hit the earth.
“The ground was low, and the beautiful green light expands to the surface of the ground.
“I’m really happy with the photograph, and I never expected to get the reaction I have done, so I feel very lucky to have been on this particular night.”