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.

2009 November 20
See Explanation. Go online for the highest resolution available.

Meteor between the Clouds
Credit & Copyright: Victor van Wulfen

Explanation: This bright meteor streaked through dark night skies over Sutherland, South Africa on November 15. Potentially part of the annual Leonid meteor shower, its sudden, brilliant appearance, likened to a camera's flash, was captured by chance as it passed between two clouds. Of course, the two clouds are also visible to the eye in dark southern skies - the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds - satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way. This year's Leonid meteor shower peaked on November 17 as the Earth passed through the stream of dust from periodic comet Tempel-Tuttle.

View this page (with external links) online at
http://apod.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap091120.html.


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