Stars and Meteors above Qumis

By: Babak A. Tafreshi


Region: Middle East

Site: Damghan - Iran

Date: 2011 January 4

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As seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day during the peak of Quadrantid meteor shower stars of constellations Corvus and Virgo rise above ruins near the histroic city of Damghan, Iran. Two meteors (in parallel streaks) are captured in this image. See the still image of the brighter one. Click on the constellation icon above the image to see a video of the brighter meteor persistent train (allow few moments for the 6 MB gif animation to load). It is a glowing ionized atoms because of the meteoroid encounter with the upper atmosphere. The faint smog-like cloud expands and moves away during the several minutes of continuous shots because of high altitude winds. The foreground structure was a water reservoir or a cistern made besides a large desert caravansary on the silk road, right outside the wall of an ancient city known as Qumis (or Hecatompylos as recorded by Greek historians). Qumis is now buried under the desert but once was the amazing city of "hundred gates" founded 2300 years ago during Seleucid kingdom of ancient Persia. The city's area was about 28 kmē at its peak, which would indicate a population in the tens of thousands. Babak tafreshi/

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