Island Universe, Cosmic Sand

Astronomy Picture Of The Day Explore the cosmos Every day, a new image or photograph of the fascinating universe is presented along with a short explanation by an astronomer. 2021 August 14

Island Universe, Cosmic sand

Image Credit & Copyright: Marzena Rogozinska

Explanation: The eye-catching field of vision shows the stars in our Milky Way Galaxy scattered across this beautiful field. The bright and colorful Perseid meteor trail was visible in the night sky above Busko-Zdroj (Poland) beginning at midnight on August 13. It flashes from lower left and upper right as it nears the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. A piece of periodic comet Swift Tuttle's cosmic sand, the hurtling grain of cosmic dust, was vaporized in Earth's atmosphere as it traveled at 60 km per second. The Andromeda Galaxy, or M31, is located just above the Milky Way stars. The Andromeda Galaxy, which is 2.5 million light-years distant, is the closest object visible to the naked eye. However, the visible meteor trail is only 100 km above Earth's surface. It is located at the lower left corner of the frame and points to the radiant meteor shower in Perseus. This bright perseid meteor trail can be followed to the left, towards the stars NGC 869 and NGC 884. These are the two star clusters in Perseus.