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Perseid Fireball

By: Wally Pacholka

 

Region: Americas

Site: Mojave Desert - USA

Date: 2013 August 10

As seen on the National Geographic News during the annual Perseid meteor shower, this bright fireball is caught lighting up the starry skies above Teutonia Peak in the Mojave National Preserve in California. One of the best meteor showers to watch, the Perseids peak every August, when the Earth slams into a giant cloud of debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle along its orbit. While most meteors zipping across the skies are no bigger than a grain of sand, fireballs like the one pictured above can be anywhere from the size of a grapefruit to the size of a basketball. The resulting high-speed impact causes unusually bright meteors, which astronomers call bolides, which can cast shadows and even a lingering smoke trail. Wally Pacholka, Astropics.com

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