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 26
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Leonids Above Torre de la Guaita
Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado

Explanation: Last year, the 1999 Leonids Meteor Shower came to a tremendous crescendo. Observers in Europe observed a sharp peak in the number of meteors visible around 0210 UTC during the early morning hours of November 18. Meteor counts then exceeded 1000 per hour - the minimum needed to define a true meteor storm. At other times and from other locations around the world, observers typically reported respectable rates of between 30 and 100 meteors per hour. This year, the 2000 Leonids were somewhat less impressive, although many astronomers hold much hope for the Leonids in 2001 and 2002. The above photograph is a 20-minute exposure ending just before the main Leonids peak of 1999 began. Visible are at least five Leonids meteors streaking high above the Torre de la Guaita, an observation tower used during the 12th century in Gorina, Spain.

Tomorrow's picture: Earth at Night

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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.