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.

August 10, 1998
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Meteors Now and Again
Credit: S. Molau & P. Jenniskens (NASA /Ames)

Explanation: The Perseid Meteor Shower, usually the best meteor shower of the year, will peak over the next two nights. Over the course of an hour, a person watching a clear sky from a dark location might see as many as 100 meteors. These meteors are actually specs of rock that have broken off Comet Swift-Tuttle and continue to orbit the Sun. This year, however, the Perseids may only be second best. In November the Earth is predicted to move through a denser stream of Comet Tempel-Tuttle debris, possibly causing greater than 10,000 meteors per hour visible at some locations. Pictured above is the alpha-Monocerotid meteor outburst of 1995. This is the last week to send your name to a comet with NASA's planned Stardust mission.

Tomorrow's picture: Sun Dance

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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.