Photographer Marat Akhmetaleyev captured some remarkable images of the Chebarkul meteorite as it ripped through the skies of Chelyabinsk, Russia nearly two weeks ago. The 31-year-old professional photographer was out on a routine shoot that Friday morning at one of his favorite spots, setting up his tripod, when he noticed something gone awry in the sky.
Unsure of what he was experiencing, the photographer’s mind ran wild with possibilities. He says, “My thoughts were confused and spontaneous. The first thing I thought was not a meteorite, but a nuclear bomb.” Shortly thereafter, as everything happened rather quickly, he remembered hearing about an asteroid set to pass by Earth, though he still continued to think of more possibilities for what the bright flash of light, emitted heat, and “intolerable glare” could have been.
Two minutes after the initial visual encounter with the meteorite, Akhmetaleyev recounts the booming explosions that could be heard, which naturally caused his heart to race even more and to leave him shaken. Even through the shocking and terrifying ordeal, Akhmetaleyev managed to capture some stunning images of the 10,000-ton meteorite’s path through the sky. Now, his images will be on display as part of an exhibition at Chelyabinsk State Museum titled Space Wanderer: Eyewitness Testimony through May 31, 2013.