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 23
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Counting Falling Stardust
Credit & Copyright: Rick Scott

Explanation: In the clear, dark and moonless predawn hours of November 18, Greenbelt, Maryland's local baseball field was packed. The crowd stared skyward and occasionally conversed in hushed and reverent tones. "How many did you count?" a man asked. Some had long since lost track ... but others were keeping score, counting hundreds of Leonid meteors in a short hour's worth of skygazing. Farther to the west, near Florence, Arizona, recreational astronomers also gathered to enjoy the celestial show. Taken from that location, this single, 10 minute, wide-angle exposure captured a dozen or so Leonid meteors. The shooting stars are clearly seen to be streaming from the shower's radiant point in the constellation Leo.

Tomorrow's picture: Mariner's Mercury

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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.