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.

2006 August 11
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Perseid in the Light
Credit & Copyright: Jimmy Westlake (Colorado Mountain College)

Explanation: Dark skies are favored for viewing meteor showers -- so many are pessimistic about this year's Perseids. While the Perseid meteor shower is scheduled to peak this weekend, bright light from an almost full Moon will also flood the night and mask the majority of relatively faint meteors. Still, skygazing in the evening before the Moon rises (before about 10 PM local time) could reveal spectacular earthgrazing meteors. Persisting even later into the moonlit night can reward northern hemisphere watchers looking for occasional Perseid fireballs. In fact, astronomer Jimmy Westlake imaged this bright Perseid meteor despite the combination of moonlight and auroral glow over Colorado skies in August of 2000.

Tomorrow's picture: The First Explorer

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