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 23, 1999
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Leonids Above Torre de la Guaita
Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado

Explanation: The 1999 Leonids Meteor Shower came to a tremendous crescendo. Observers in Europe observed a sharp peak in the number of meteors visible around 0210 UTC during the early morning hours of November 18. Meteor counts then exceeded 1000 per hour - the minimum needed to define a true meteor storm. At other times and from other locations around the world, observers typically reported respectable rates of between 30 and 100 meteors per hour. The above photograph is a 20-minute exposure ending just before the main Leonids peak began. Visible are at least five Leonids meteors streaking high above the Torre de la Guaita, an observation tower used during the 12th century in Gorina, Spain.

Tomorrow's picture: The Peak of the 1999 Leonids

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