The wind has etched ripples onto a plain of ash, stirring the fine grey particles into shallow dust clouds. A pale purple hue seems to be cast across the landscape, the fading glow of a sun in descent.
This lunar-esque “Sea Of Sand” is part of the vast Tengger complex of volcanoes and their overlapping calderas (giant craters formed when the earth collapses into the void of a newly-erupted magma chamber) that dates back 820,000 years.
With darkness, the temperature plummets, a side effect of the high altitude. Stars appear to crowd the sky and illuminate a giant arc overhead. The Milky Way, visible to the naked eye.
Java, Indonesia, may be the world’s most populous island, but here in the middle of this vast plain, watching volcanoes smoulder beneath the long glow of our own galaxy, it could be another planet.