Stunning Photo Captures “Eruption” of Perseid Meteors and the Milky Way Over Mount Rainier

Perseid Meteor Shower of Mt Rainier by Matt Dieterich

Each summer the Northern Hemisphere is in for a delightful light show thanks to the Perseid meteor shower. From mid-July to late-August, these streaks of matter dart across the sky—as many as 60 per hour. During this magical time, astronomy lovers set their sights on the cosmos and wait in darkness for the meteors to emerge. If you missed seeing this spectacular sight, astronomer and photographer Matt Dieterich has an incredible image that will have you running outside to catch the Perseids the next time they appear.

Dieterich, who has a master's degree in geology and planetary science, has a fondness for Mount Rainier National Park. Not only did he work there as an Astronomy Ranger, but one of his photographs taken in the park was selected by the United States Postal Service to become a Forever Stamp in 2016. So, it makes perfect sense that Mount Rainier would be his location of choice to take in the Perseid meteor shower.

After researching when the meteors would be at peak visibility, he carefully selected a location within the park for his photoshoot. “I wanted to find an interesting scene to compose,” he tells My Modern Met. “Since the Milky Way was visible I found a vantage point where Mount Rainier appears to be erupting the Milky Way from its summit.”

After hours in the park recording a time-lapse of the night sky, he estimates that he saw over 200 meteors in a period of three hours. As it's difficult to capture them all on camera, Dieterich created his final still image by compositing all the stills where bright Perseid meteors are visible. The sheer number of meteors—coupled with the majesty of the Milky Way and the iconic Mount Rainier—makes for an unforgettable photo.

Dieterich hopes that his photo will inspire more people to get outdoors, take in the stars for themselves, and enjoy the power of nature. “My favorite aspect of astrophotography is being able to feel part of something larger than myself when outside at night in nature,” he says. “Being out under the stars really feels like I am taking a step back into history and experiencing something special that humans for thousands of years have cherished.”

Check out more photos of the Perseid meteor shower and the Milky Way over Mount Rainier.

The Milky Way Over Mount Rainier

The Milky Way Over Mount Rainier

This time-lapse also includes the Milky Way and stunning footage of the Aurora, in addition to the meteors.

Matt Dieterich: Website | Instagram | YouTube | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Matt Dieterich.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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