According to NBC News, Arkansas photographer Brian Emfinger captured the best meteor he’s ever photographed while sleeping.
Emfinger said that this was, “definitely the brightest meteor I’ve ever imaged. If I was awake, it would have been the brightest meteor I’ve ever seen.”
Emfinger photographs storms and sky phenomena for his RealClearWX website. He said that the extremely brilliant Geminid meteor flew over the skyline of Fort Smith, Arkansas at around 1:07 am CT on Thursday.
Emfinger was in the middle of an all-night meteor photography session, when he photographed the meteor.
The Geminid meteor shower is the year’s most reliable display of shooting stars, as it reaches it’s peak annually on the night of December 13-14.
This year, due to a moonless sky and a meteors tallying higher than the typical 100 to 120 per hour, the Geminid meteor shower was truly a sight to see.
Meteor flashes occur when little bits of debris, known as Phaeton, burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
Like many meteor fans, Emfinger was watching the skies before the meteor shower peaked as well.
On Wednesday night, Emfinger drove up to the top of Mount Magazine and set up a fisheye camera to take pictures automatically. After setting up his camera, he laid down for a nap at around midnight.
A little while after falling asleep, Emfinger received a call on his cell phone from a friend who reported seeing something like lightning flashes on the horizon.
“He was assuming it was some spectacular meteor,” Emfinger recalled.
After receiving the phone call from his friend, Emfinger checked the shots that were stored on his camera. He said:
“I scrolled through them real quick — and there it was, descending toward the skyline of Fort Smith.”
Other observers in Oklahoma and other westward states also reported seeing the blazing fireball.