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.

2002 December 11
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Meteors Between Stars and Clouds
Credit & Copyright: Pierre Martin & Michael F. Vasseur (OAOG)

Explanation: Streaking high above diffuse clouds -- but well in front of distant stars -- are sand-sized bits of an ancient comet: meteors. These bits flaked off Comet Tempel-Tuttle during its pass through the inner Solar System about 150 years ago. Far in the background are stars toward the constellation of Ursa Major. The above image is digital combination of 12 exposures taken on the morning of November 19 from Florida, USA. Observers there reported a strong peak in faint meteors between 5:30 and 6:00 EST, with a particularly strong minute coming at 5:46 EST when 22 Leonid meteors were counted. The likely less impressive Geminid meteor shower will peak over the next three nights.

Tomorrow's picture: last on the Moon

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