Fireball

Fireball

. A great flash of light, called a fireball, is produced when a large meteoroid streaks through the atmosphere. It is often accompanied by sonic booms and rumbling noises. A camera-chopping shutter used for timing and velocity determinations produced spaces between the luminous segments of the fireball's trajectory. The faint curved lines in the background are star trails caused by the Earth's rotation during the three-hour exposure. (Courtesy of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University