Falling Fire
Two bright shooting stars of the Leonid meteor shower flash like falling torches through the Orion constellation. Every 33 years this meteor storm causes a cosmic firework with more than 100.000 shooting stars per hour, next in 2034. The leonids are named after the constellation Leo from which they seem to radiate in all directions. The particles that cause the shooting stars originate from the comet Tempel-Tuttle. Each year around the 17 November Earth crosses a different part of the comets dust trail usually causing 10 to 100 shooting stars per hour. They are among the quickest shooting stars with a speed up to 44 miles per hour (70 km/h) and are on direct collision course with Earth’s orbit. Both shooting stars crossed from left to right through Orion while the bright one began glowing green and ended in an orange trail. Orion consists of the bright stars Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, Saiph and Rigel, three belt stars, the bright Orion nebula, famous Horsehead nebula and Barnard’s loop, the red semicircle of glowing hydrogen gas caused by an explosion within the Orion nebula three million years ago.
November 2009
Canon 5D MkII, Canon L 24-105mm, f/4, 6 min, ISO 1600, tripod, AstroTrac TT320 astronomical mount