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.

2000 November 24
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Long Leonid
Credit & Copyright: Bob Yen

Explanation: Just last week this long lovely Leonid shower meteor arced through the night. Captured on November 17/18 by photographer Bob Yen, the meteor trail spans about 70 times the apparent diameter of the full moon in the skies above Mt. Wilson, California, USA. The Leonid's path flashes from the outskirts of constellation Gemini to the triangle-shaped head of Taurus (lower right). Of course, the trail points back toward Leo, the shower's eponymous radiant, while passing near such night sky notables as galactic star cluster M35 (upper left) and Taurus's brightest star, red giant Aldebaran. Though the sky was ruled by a bright but waning Moon and brilliant Jupiter, the Leonid meteor shower still awed observers at dark sky locations with peak rates of hundreds of meteors per hour.

Tomorrow's picture: High Energy Fleet

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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.