Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 November 16
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A Daytime Fireball in 1944
Credit & Copyright: Norman Appleton

Explanation: While stationed in central Africa in December 1944, Norman Appleton witnessed a meteor so bright he remembered it his entire life. Right before his eyes a tremendous smoking fireball streaked across the daytime sky. Years later, as an accomplished member of the Guild of Aviation Artists, he recorded his memories in the above painting. Tonight and tomorrow mark the peak of this year's Leonid meteor shower. Although any individual observer is unlikely to see a fireball as spectacular as this one, observers in dark locations might witness as many as hundreds of transient streaks of light emanating from the constellation of Leo across a morning moonlit sky.

Tomorrow's picture: Leonid Sunrise

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.