Meteor showers are one of nature's most magical displays. Fleeting streaks of light, dancing through the night sky. You stay up all night, eyes wide open, and just wonder at our amazing world.
When I realized that the Quadrantids were forecast to be 2019's best meteor shower, I immediately began looking for dark sky locations near home. An overnight train ride took me to the rocky landscapes of Hampi, strewn with hidden 7th century ruins of the Vijayanagara Kingdom. Crossing the Tungabhadra river on a ferry, I checked my dark sky map, and headed away from civilization. Couple of sweltering hours later, I reached the Sanapur lake, and rented a tiny shack, perched on a granite boulder. Dozing in a hammock strung in a tall eucalyptus forest, I waited for dusk.
I have made many friends on @ but have rarely met them in real life. @ and I are both obsessed with mountains and astrophotography, and have had many fascinating discussions on how to photograph the night sky. When I realized that he was near Hampi, we realized that the Quadrantid meteor shower would be the perfect time to meet up. At night Nitish, @ and I packed some snacks, our gear, a thermos of hot tea, and set out to a spot overlooking the lake. The wind had died down, and the lake was a perfect mirror, reflecting the glittering sky!
By 3am we had pretty much given up on the meteor shower, having seen only a couple of meteors so far. Then, @ saw her first meteor in her life! And the magic began. Over the next two hours we saw hundreds of meteors, a true cosmic shower!
This image is a composite of the 8 best meteors that my camera managed to capture. Occasional gusts of wind sent ripples flying over the lake, and I only managed to catch a single meteor reflected in the water. There were so many stars in the sky, that it is easier to identify the constellations in the reflections. The bright star above the reflected meteor is Polaris, the north star. To the bottom right, is Ursa Major, the great bear.