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OUR BEAUTIFUL UNIVERSE: Perseid meteor above the VLT

Published on Tuesday, 17 August 2010 08:30


A Perseid meteor over the VLT. Credit: ESO / Stephane Guisard


Each August sees the annual maximum of the Perseid meteor shower. Meteors or 'shooting stars' are the short-lived result of small particles entering the Earth's atmosphere at high speed. The vast majority of these particles are smaller than a grain of sand and are rapidly destroyed, leaving a briefly visible trail of hot gases.

In 2010 the maximum was favourable, with no significant interference from the light of the Moon and the shower was seen by people across the world, with some choosing to take part in projects like Meteorwatch and the British Astronomical Association's Project Perseid 2010.

European Southern Observatory (ESO) Photo Ambassador Stephane Guisard took more than 8000 images of the sky above the ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) site at Paranal in Chile and selected this dramatic shot of a bright Perseid over the VLT's four enclosures.

RAS Press Release on 2010 Perseids

ESO home page