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 20

A 2000 Leonid Through Orion
Credit & Copyright: Doug Murray

Explanation: The Leonid Meteor Shower this year could be described as good but not great. During November 17 and 18 the Earth crossed through several streams of sand-sized grit left orbiting the Sun by Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Several distinct peaks in meteor activity were reported, with rates approaching 400 meteors per hour for brief periods for some dark locations. Pictured above, a Leonid meteor was caught from Florida streaking through the constellation of Orion on the morning of 2000 November 18. Visible as a red-tinged smudge to the left of the three nearly linear stars that compose Orion's belt is the picturesque star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula. Next year, the Leonids Meteor Shower is expected by many to be much more active.

Tomorrow's picture: Fire on Earth

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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.