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 20
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A Leonids Star Field
Credit & Copyright: Sherry Buttnor

Explanation: As meteor after meteor streaked across a moonless sky, photographers across the world snapped pictures of the 2001 Leonids Meteor Shower. Many recognized this as the best meteor shower they had ever seen. In fact, the 2001 Leonids was the most active meteor shower since the mid-1960s. The above photo captures three Leonid meteors crossing a photogenic star-field. On the far right is the Pleiades star cluster. The brightest meteor crosses right in front of the Hyades star cluster, situated below the image center. The bright star left of center is Aldebaran. The ten-minute exposure was taken near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada at 2:45 am PST on 2001 November 18.

Tomorrow's picture: An Unexpected Swirl

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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.