Optical image of a Leonid meteor and star trails

Optical image of a Leonid meteor and star trails

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Credit: DAN SCHECHTER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Meteor. Optical image of a Leonid meteor (lower centre) and star trails (curved tracks). Meteors, or shooting stars, are tiny particles of dust which enter the Earth's atmosphere with speeds of 35-95 kilometres per second. Air resistance heats the particles, making them visible as streaks of light. Star trails are produced on long-exposure photographs by the apparent motion of the stars caused by the Earth's rotation. The Leonid meteor shower occurs annually for about 2 days around 17th November when the Earth crosses the path of debris produced by the Tempel-Tuttle 1886 I comet.

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Keywords: 1998, astronomy, comet debris, cosmology, leonid, leonid meteor, meteor, meteor shower, shooting star, star trails, tempel-tuttle debris

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