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.

November 27, 1998
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Twisting Meteor Train
Credit and Copyright: Tom Bailey (Des Moines Astronomical Society)

Explanation: Blazing through the sky at 70 kilometers per second, 100 kilometers or so above planet Earth, many bright Leonid meteors left behind a persistent, smoke-like trail of glowing, hot, ionized gas. Twisting in high altitude winds, these trails or trains typically were visible for many minutes. As Iowa astrophotographer Tom Bailey captured the eerie, wispy remains of this persistent train from a fireball arcing overhead, yet another fainter Leonid meteor flashed across the sky.

Tomorrow's picture: Only The Lonely

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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