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.
2006 August 17
Explanation: The rock formation in the foreground of this night view was recorded on August 10, illuminated by light from a waning gibbous Moon. Even though the sky above also scatters the bright moonlight, a brilliant meteor was captured as it flashed across the scene during the 30 second long exposure. Of course, the meteor was part of the annual rain of dust from periodic Comet Swift-Tuttle known as the Perseid Meteor Shower. Leaving trails that point back to a radiant in the constellation Perseus, the ancient dust particles are vapourized as they enter the atmosphere at about 60 kilometres per second, their visible streaks beginning at altitudes of around 100 kilometres. And though it looks like the knuckles of a giant hand, the curious rock formation can be found in Colorado National Monument park, USA, planet Earth.
Authors & editors:
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: EUD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.