Meteor, Crater

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April 25 2012 9:12 AM

Meteor, Crater

Brad Goldpaint thinks he's the luckiest guy on Earth. He says that because he's a photographer, and he was thrilled that after waiting a long time to get a good shot at Crater Lake, Oregon, the weather cleared up just in time for annual Lyrid meteor shower.

It's hard to argue, especially when he says he saw only one meteor the whole night... and it looked like this:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies!  

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Nice! [Click to calderenate.]

Crater Lake is an ancient volcano of such surpassing beauty that it's no exagerration to say that when I visited there years ago, it changed my outlook on life.

The Lyrids are a weak meteor shower occurring every year in April. The shower does sometimes produce bright fireballs like the one Brad captured above, but usually most of the meteors are relatively faint. By the way, that fireball you may have heard about over California a couple of days ago happened during the Lyrids, but that was almost certainly a coincidence; that exploding chunk of rock was the size of a car when it came in, while meteor shower meteoroids are usually smaller than a grain of sand.

Anyway, I disagree with Brad. He's not lucky. By taking so many pictures, by persevering, by always being out there, eventually this wonderful happenstance was inevitable. He made his own luck; chance favors the well-prepared.

By not-a-big-coincidence, this image was also on APOD today! Check out the Related Posts just below for more of Brad's astonishing sky photography.



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