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.
2010 December 17
Explanation: Intensely bright, this fireball meteor flashed through Tuesday's cold, clear, early morning skies over the Karkas Mountains in central Iran, near the peak of the annual Geminid Meteor Shower. To capture the meteor moment and wintery night skyscape, the photographer's camera was fixed to a tripod, its shutter open for about 1.5 minutes. During that time, the multitude of stars slowly traced short, arcing trails through the sky, a reflection of planet Earth's daily rotation on its axis. The meteor's brilliant dash through the scene was brief, though. Changing colour as it went, it also left a reddish swirl of hot, glowing gas near the centre of its path. The mountains appear in silhouette against the steady glow of distant city lights.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.