Sometimes, the best things happen totally by accident. When Prasenjeet Yadav set up his camera to shoot the night sky above Mettupalayam, India, he never thought he’d capture a green-glowing meteor. I believe we can all agree that capturing something like this is a lucky coincidence on its own. But what makes it even more incredible is that the photo was taken while Prasenjeet was asleep.
Prasenjeet is a molecular ecologist turned photographer and a National Geographic Explorer. In 2015, he won a National Geographic Young Explorers grant, which is when his “Green Meteor” photo was taken. He wanted to shoot a nighttime timelapse of Mettupalayam, a small town in south India, to document its urbanization. So he set up his Nikon D600 with an intervalometer that would capture 15-second exposures every 10 seconds. It was late at night, so he set everything up and went to sleep.
In the morning, there were 999 photos waiting for Prasenjeet on his memory card. As he went through the images, he saw this incredible green meteor in one of them. “This is definitely one of the most memorable shot I have ever taken and also the first image that NG published back in 2016,” Prasenjeet writes on Instagram. He explains that the greenish color comes from “a combination of the heating of oxygen around the meteor and the mix of minerals ignited as the rock enters Earth’s atmosphere.”
When preparing for photo shoots or timelapse, you need to plan, prepare, and think through a lot of things in advance. And even then, you can expect all kinds of surprises – and this is certainly one of the most epic ones one can hope for. I wonder, though, if wishing upon a shooting star counts when your camera captures it while you’re asleep.