Odd green light spotted at Indonesian volcano was a meteorite
A series of photos of Indonesian volcano Mount Merapi have gone viral after a photographer captured images that look like a laser is erupting from the massive peak, but it’s most likely a meteorite, according to experts.
Indonesian photographer Gunarto Song took the photos on May 28 that have now garnered more than 28,000 likes. The caption on the photos reads: ‘a meteor fell into the peak of Mount Merapi?’
However, it’s likely that the strange green light stems from two meteor showers, the Eta Aqarid meteor shower and the Arietid meteor shower, that happened during the time, according to National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN).
The beam was captured in a still photograph and confirmed by CCTV monitoring of the volcano by the Kalitengah Kidul Post for a few seconds.
‘So, from these two data, it can be assumed that the flash of greenish light that appears near Mount Merapi may be related to meteor shower activity,’ LAPAN wrote in a translated version of its website.
The Eta Aquarids meteor shower happened between April 19 to May 28, while the Arietids shower started on May 14 and will last through June 24.
As for the bright greenish hue, that can likely be explained by the level of magnesium in the space rock.
‘Given that the light emitted is green, it is likely that the meteor that feel around Merapi was dominated by the element magnesium,’ LAPAN added.
A piece of an asteroid or comet is also known as a meteoroid. Upon entering Earth’s atmosphere, it turns into a meteor, fireball or shooting star.
The pieces that reach the ground are known as meteorites.
Speaking with CNN Indonesia, Gunarto said he set the shutter speed of his camera at four seconds and hoped for the best.
‘Because I use a speed of 4 seconds. Like it or not, the photo [of light] will be long. But the light is round light, hurry up, the round light keeps falling,’ Gunarto told the news outlet.
Mount Merapi on the border of Central Java and the Special Region of Yogyakarta,, is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It last erupted on March 27, 2021, with prior eruptions happening twice in March 2020.
Indonesia sits on the ‘Ring of Fire,’ a tectonic plate in the Pacific Ocean that results in frequent seismic and volcanic activity.