ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ECKHARD SLAWIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Leonid meteor. Optical time-exposure image of a Leonid meteor (white diagonal line, lower centre) and star trails (curved tracks). Meteors, or shooting stars, are tiny particles of dust which enter the Earth's atmosphere at high speeds. Air resistance heats the particles, making them visible as streaks of light. The Leonid meteor shower occurs annually for about 2 days around 17th November, when the Earth crosses the path of debris produced by the comet Tempel-Tuttle (55P). Star trails are produced on long-exposure photographs by the apparent motion of the stars caused by the Earth's rotation.
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