Leonid meteors

Leonid meteors

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Credit: DR FRED ESPENAK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leonid meteors. Optical time-exposure image of Leonid meteors (white streaks) against a starfield. The south celestial pole is at upper right. Meteors, or shooting stars, are tiny dust particles which enter the Earth's atmosphere at high speeds. They are heated by air resistance, making them visible as streaks of light. The Leonid shower occurs annually for about 2 days around 17th November, when the Earth crosses the debris produced by the comet Tempel-Tuttle (55P). The two blobs of light seen in the starfield here are the Large (lower centre) and Small (upper left) Magellanic Clouds, satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way. Photographed in 2001.

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Keywords: 2001, 55p, annual, astronomical, astronomy, cloud, comet debris, comets, constellation, dust, falling, large, leo, leonid, leonids, lmc, long-exposure, magellanic clouds, meteor shower, meteors, night sky, optical, periodic, shooting star, small, smc, south celestial pole, starfield, stars, tempel-tuttle, time-exposure

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