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.

2010 August 14
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Night of the Perseids
Credit & Copyright: Marco Verstraaten

Explanation: On the night of August 12, from moonset until dawn was a good time to see meteors. Enthusiasts watched as comet dust rained on planet Earth, streaking through dark skies during the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. Anticipating the shower approaching its peak, astronomer Marco Verstraaten recorded a series of exposures capturing meteors over a period of 6 hours using a wide angle lens from a not-so-dark site in the Netherlands. Combining them still produced this dramatic night sky view with many colorful meteor streaks. The starry backdrop includes the Milky Way and even the faint Andromeda Galaxy, right of center. Although the comet dust particles are traveling parallel to each other, the shower meteors clearly seem to radiate from a spot on the sky in the eponymous constellation Perseus. The radiant effect is due to perspective, as the parallel tracks appear to converge at a distance. Bright stars in Perseus extend into the gap between the foreground trees.

Tomorrow's picture: layers

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.