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.

2001 November 18
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

A Leonid Meteor Explodes
Credit: ROTSE Team

Explanation: Last night and tonight, a lucky few may see a meteor explode. As our Earth passes unusually close to debris expelled from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, many sand-sized particles from this comet are entering and burning up in the Earth's atmosphere. This yearly phenomenon is known as the Leonids Meteor Shower, but the location the Earth passes through this year holds promise to provide relatively high activity. In particular, the 1998 Leonids was noteworthy for its many bright meteors. In the above slow-loading sequence, a 1998 Leonid was caught exploding over Los Alamos, New Mexico. In the last one-minute exposure, another Leonid streaks past.

Tomorrow's picture: A 2001 Fireball Over Hawaii

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

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.