Incredible Geminid Meteor Shower From 747 Cockpit

December 16, 2022
Geminid Meteor Shower

An incredible photo has been captured of the Geminid meteor shower from Astana to Liege. The Geminid meteor shower of December 14, 2022, was taken by 747 Captain Christiaan van Heijst.

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Christiaan takes up the story of capturing the meteor shower.

“Fortunate to have a colleague with me who enjoyed gazing at the stars in a completely dimmed flight deck while gazing at the unbelievable universe beyond.

“We stopped counting all the shooting stars after an hour or so: it was just a never-ending show of white, orange and green streaks across the sky. Some leaving bright and fumy contrails during their 3-second burn, others gone in less than a second. So beautiful.

“Particles and rocks that are all debris of the ‘3200 Phaethon’ asteroid that somehow lost a lot of its mass orbiting the Sun during its 1,5 ‘Earth year’ orbits.

It is already amazing to behold for two 21st-century pilots in their 747, knowing so much about the solar system and our universe. But I can only imagine the true reverence people must have felt in the ancient days of history.

“Presumably unaware of the greater picture we’re part of, what were they thinking while observing these things? Fear? Awe?

“Oh how I would love to take a DeLorean time machine, visit those older civilisations and learn about their ways and perspectives of life and the universe. I would not be surprised we could actually learn a thing or two from them right now, provided I manage to conceal the car and convincingly pose and speak their language of course. Makes up for a potential movie, I guess.

“Anyway, this image is a stacked result, using the Nikon Z7 and 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens, for nearly five hours straight with 30-second exposures. I’ve manually selected and cropped all the trails in each image, blending them in one of the long-exposure shots taken while flying over Azerbaijan.”

Christiaan is one of the world’s leading aviation photographers and more of his work and more close encounter (s) can be found here.

You can follow Christiaan on Instagram here: @jpcvanheijst