This Meteor Was Caught On Film Exploding In Front Of The Milky Way

A lucky stargazer in the US caught an amazing moment when a meteor exploded with the Milky Way as a backdrop.

Wes Eisenhauer posted the video of the moment to Vimeo:

As it’s a time lapse video, the remains of the explosion actually hung in the air for several minutes.

Universe Today reports that the remains are known as a “persistent train”, and quotes Phil Plait at Discover on what that actually means:

…it’s not actually smoke. As a meteoroid (the actual solid chunk of material) blasts through the air, it ionizes the gases, stripping electrons from their parent atoms. As the electrons slowly recombine with the atoms, they emit light — this is how neon signs glow, as well as giant star-forming nebulae in space. The upper-level winds blowing that high (upwards of 100 km/60 miles) create the twisting, fantastic shapes in the train.

Here’s the GIF:

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