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.

2001 November 19
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 the highest resolution version available.

A 2001 Leonids Meteor Shower Fireball
Credit: The CONCAM Project, Michigan Tech, Gemini Obs., AURA, NSF

Explanation: The 2001 Leonids Meteor Shower gave quite a show to many parts of the world yesterday during the early morning hours. Many sleepy observers venturing into their own backyards were treated to several bright meteors per minute streaking across the sky. This rate made the 2001 Leonids the most active meteor shower in over three decades. Pictured above is a bright Leonid fireball that briefly lit up Hawaii yesterday morning. A CONCAM nighttime all-sky monitor on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, caught the bright meteor, seen as the very bright streak across the lower part of the fisheye image. The meteor track crossed the Galactic plane (the faint glow that runs from the lower left to upper right), passed below the planet Jupiter, and through the constellation Orion. CONCAMs in Hawaii, Arizona, and California all recorded numerous bright meteors during this year's Leonids.

Tomorrow's picture: 2001 Leonids and Counting

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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.