Falling Star Caught At Impact
December 18, 2001
As the Earth orbits the Sun. it regularly intersects the trail of debris left in the path of a comet or asteroid. This debris can often be seen as fiery meteors blazing through Earth's protective atmosphere. This Geminid meteor, photographed on 12/13/2001, shows the final moments of a piece of the object called '3200 Phaethon'. On this time lapse photograph, the horizontal streaks are stars and the elongated, near-vertical streak is the tiny piece of 3200 Phaethon. With the appearance of an asteroid, 3200 Phaethon may actually be an extinct comet.