A research camera captured an incredible view of a meteor torching up the sky and disintegrating in the atmosphere in a six-second video. That’s already a pretty cool thing to watch. But when it passes behind an erupting volcano? It’s downright epic — and a fitting ending for what’s been a strange year.
Cameras at the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI) were trained on the region’s Turrialba volcano — one of the country’s largest volcanoes — which is actively erupting. Whizzing through the skies, the former space rock-turned-fireball soared nearly three miles above the ground and through the volcano’s ashy ejecta.
Eric Sanchez, of the University of Costa Rica’s San José Planetarium, said the event was captured by a specialized observatory camera. Despite being in operation since 2011, this is the first incident involving a meteor that the camera has captured.
A local astronomer, Victor Fung, estimated that despite the seemingly decent sized fireball, the meteorite might actually be small in size. “It has all the appearance of being a meteor of a size of a grain of dust,” he told the Q Costa Rica, a local news outlet. “The shooting stars are pebbles the size of a grain of sand. As they move at high-speed and enter the atmosphere, they burn and we see the result.”