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.

December 29, 1998
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

A Geminid From Gemini
Credit & Copyright: B. Yen (Comet-Track)

Explanation: The Leonid meteor shower was not the only good meteor shower this season. Earlier this month, the annual Geminids meteor shower peaked, featuring as many as 140 meteors per hour from some locations. Geminid meteors can be seen streaking away from the constellation of Gemini, as depicted in the above all-sky photograph. The origin of the Geminid meteors is somewhat uncertain but thought to be small bits broken off the unusual asteroid 3200 Phaetheon. Many observers reported that the 1998 Geminids were typically less bright than the 1998 Leonids, but appeared more bunched, with groups of two or three meteors sometimes appearing simultaneously. Next years' Geminids might be better yet.

Tomorrow's picture: An Unexpected Universe

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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.