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Meteors and Aurora
Meteors and Aurora

Where do meteor showers originate? To help answer this question, astronomers studied his past weekend's Quadrantid meteor shower. In particular, astronomers with specialized cameras flew as part of the Quadrantid's Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign (MAC) aboard a NASA DC-8 aircraft above northern Canada and studied the meteor shower in unprecedented detail. Pictured above is a composite image combining many short exposures.

Visible in the image are the tail of the airplane reflecting a red beacon on the left, green aurora most prominent on the image right, and numerous meteor streaks throughout. Preliminary indications are that the meteor stream is quite stable in time. Over 100 meteors per hour were visible at the shower's peak from the MAC aircraft.

Image Credit: NASA, Caltech, Jeremie Vaubaillon et al.
 

Page Last Updated: January 15th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator