17 Aug '11, 1am

The Perseid meteor shower, from the top down: an astronaut snapshot from the International Space Station.

Many people have spent time outdoors under a dark sky, watching for “shooting stars” to streak across the firmament. In some cultures, this event is an occasion to make a wish; in others it is viewed as a herald of important events, such as the birth of a future ruler. While not actual stars, “shooting stars” do come from outer space, in the form of meteoroids entering the Earth’s atmosphere. Meteoroids are small objects moving through the solar system that are attracted to the Earth by its gravitational pull. These small objects—typically fragments of asteroids or comets, though they can also originate from the Moon or Mars—begin to heat and burn up as they collide with air molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, creating a bright vapor trail or streak. At this point, the object is known as a meteor. If any remnant of the object survives to impact the Earth’s surface, it becomes...

Full article: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=51754

Tweets

Looking Down on a Shooting Star [image] #NASA

earthobservatory.nasa.gov 16 Aug '11, 10pm

Many people have spent time outdoors under a dark sky, watching for “shooting stars” to streak across the firmament. In so...

Looking Down on a Shooting Star

earthobservatory.nasa.gov 17 Aug '11, 12am

Many people have spent time outdoors under a dark sky, watching for “shooting stars” to streak across the firmament. In so...

Amazing shot of a Perseid meteor, seen from space:

earthobservatory.nasa.gov 16 Aug '11, 10pm

Many people have spent time outdoors under a dark sky, watching for “shooting stars” to streak across the firmament. In so...

Want to see a shooting star from space? The Per...

earthobservatory.nasa.gov 16 Aug '11, 11pm

Many people have spent time outdoors under a dark sky, watching for “shooting stars” to streak across the firmament. In so...

A Star is Born

A Star is Born

robbreport.com 16 Aug '11, 1pm

recently launched its newest build, the 121-foot Shooting Star . With a carbon fiber hull and a pair of powerful 4,750 hp ...

See the island of Crete, Greece, from the Inter...

earthobservatory.nasa.gov 15 Aug '11, 12am

In classical Greek mythology, the island of Crete was home to King Minos and the terrible Minotaur, a beast that was half ...

Island of Crete, Greece [image] #NASA

earthobservatory.nasa.gov 14 Aug '11, 10pm

In classical Greek mythology, the island of Crete was home to King Minos and the terrible Minotaur, a beast that was half ...

Biomass Burning, Southern Africa [image] #NASA

earthobservatory.nasa.gov 07 Aug '11, 10pm

A smoke pall dominates this view of tropical southern Africa, one of the most fire-prone regions of the world. Numerous fi...