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.

2023 August 9
Mulitple streaks cover a night sky filled with stars.
An observtory dome is visible in the foreground. 
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Perseid Meteors from Perseus
Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek / Institute of Physics in Opava

Explanation: This is a good week to see meteors. Comet dust will rain down on planet Earth, streaking through dark skies during peak nights of the annual Perseid Meteor Shower. The featured composite image was taken during the 2018 Perseids from the Poloniny Dark Sky Park in Slovakia. The observatory in the foreground is a telescope on the grounds of Kolonica Observatory. Although the comet dust particles travel parallel to each other, the resulting shower meteors clearly seem to radiate from a single point on the sky in the eponymous constellation Perseus. The radiant effect is due to perspective, as the parallel tracks appear to converge at a distance, like train tracks. The Perseid Meteor Shower is expected reach its highest peak on Saturday after midnight. Since a crescent Moon will rise only very late that night, cloudless skies will be darker than usual, making a high number of faint meteors potentially visible this year.

Tomorrow's picture: open space

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