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.

2009 August 11
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Inside Barringer Meteor Crater
Credit & Copyright: Tony Rowell

Explanation: What happens when a meteor hits the ground? Usually nothing much, as most meteors are small, and indentations they make are soon eroded away. About 50,000 years ago, however, a large meteor created Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona, USA. Also known simply as Meteor Crater, the resulting impact basin spans over a kilometer. Pictured above, a tour group views the inside of Barringer Crater early last year. Historically, Barringer Crater was the first feature on Earth to be recognized as an impact crater. Today, over 100 terrestrial impact features have been identified on planet Earth. Computer modeling indicates that some of the Canyon Diablo impactor melted during the impact that created Barringer.

Tomorrow's picture: jerry's choice

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