Picture of the month

This single image captures three objects with very different lifetimes. The bright yellow line is the result of a meteor that disintegrated in Earth’s atmosphere and was visible for less than a second (CERN Courier October 2018 p19). The meteor was probably a piece of debris from comet 21P/Giacobini–Zinner. This comet is also captured in the centre of the image (white streak of light) and is responsible for the yearly Draconid meteor shower. The comet and its long dust tail have been visible across the night sky for several months but are now slowly fading as the comet moves away from Earth. The image is completed by the Seagull Nebula (pink), which consists of gas illuminated by surrounding stars (CERN Courier May 2018 p17) and will probably remain visible for many thousands of years.