A stunning photo of the Quadrantid Meteor Shower alongside the constellation Orion has been featured as NASA ’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.
The beautiful image was taken by photographer Petr Horalek in Slovakia during the peak of the shower earlier this month.
NASA said: “Why are these meteor trails nearly parallel? Because they were all shed by the same space rock and so can be traced back to the same direction on the sky: the radiant of the Quadrantid Meteor Shower.
“This direction used to be toward the old constellation of Quadrans Muralis, hence the name Quadrantids, but when the International Astronomical Union formulated its list of modern constellations in 1922, this constellation did not make the list.
“Even though the meteors are now considered to originate from the recognised constellation of Bootes, the old name stuck.”
The Quadrantids Meteor Shower appears every January, but peaked on the evening of January 3 this year.
NASA added: “The featured image composite was taken on January 4 with a picturesque snowy Slovakian landscape in the foreground, and a deep-exposure sky prominently featuring the constellation Orion in the background.
“The red star Betelgeuse appears unusually dim – its fading over the past few months is being tracked by astronomers.”
If you missed the Quadrantid Meteor Shower, unfortunately there’s a bit of a wait until the next shower.
The Lyrids Meteor Shower will peak on the evening of April 22, at which point there will be around 20 meteors per hour.
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