7 Stunning Images from the Perseid Meteor Shower

Getty Images
Getty Images

If you were wise enough to take our advice from earlier in the week, last night you got out to watch this year’s Perseid meteor shower. It comes around every summer, and Wednesday offered up the most breathtaking views of the event across the Northern Hemisphere. The meteors are actually bits of cosmic debris in the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet. When they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn up, creating brilliant streaks across the night sky.

In the case that you weren’t able to escape from light pollution (or motivate yourself to wake up at four a.m.), we’ve rounded up 13 stunning photos captured by last night’s stargazers. Check out what you missed. If you captured some stellar images yourself, tweet them to @mental_floss, tag us on Instagram, or leave a photo comment on the Facebook post of this story.  

1. Silicon Valley // 10:01 p.m.

Photographer Wilson Lam: "Who says you have to leave the Bay Area to see the meteors?"

2. "Skyline" // 1:45 a.m.

Photographer Jono Kane: "One of my life-long favorite spots made for a great vantage point for viewing the incredible meteor shower tonight. Good times road trip with friends."

3. Twmbarlwm, Wales // 12:33 a.m.

4. Crissolo, Italy 

A photographer prepares to take pictures of the annual Perseid meteor shower in the village of Crissolo, near Cuneo, in the Monviso Alps region of northern Italy.

5. Van, Turkey 

6. Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Nevada

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky above desert pine trees on August 13, 2015

7. Spruce Knob, West Virginia // 10:51 p.m.

NASA HQ PHOTO, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

In this 20-second exposure, a meteor streaks across the sky.

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar


Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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The Notorious B.I.G.'s Iconic "King of New York" Crown Is Expected to Fetch More Than $200,000 at Auction

B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y), taken by Barron Claiborne.
B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y), taken by Barron Claiborne.

The crown the Notorious B.I.G. donned for a portrait session on March 6, 1997, isn’t inherently valuable. Its gold base and inlaid gemstones are made of plastic, and P. Diddy even reportedly said Biggie looked like “the Burger King” while wearing it. As a cultural object, however, it’s priceless.

The legendary rapper was shot and killed just three days after he sat down for the session, and the photo of him staring dolefully into the camera lens, crown askew, is one of the most iconic images in music history.

The Notorious Burger King.Sotheby's

Soon we’ll find out how much someone is willing to pay to take the headgear home with them: Sotheby’s is auctioning it off on September 15, and it’s expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000. The crown, which is missing one point, still has pieces of foam along the inner rim that were added to make it fit more snugly. It’s also signed by the photographer, Barron Claiborne—and by Biggie, the “King of New York,” himself.

Claiborne's inscription reads "Crown from Biggie KONY Shot. 3-6-97."Sotheby's

Along with the crown, the buyer will receive three 36-inch-by-40-inch prints: the regular B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y) photograph; a 10th anniversary edition, titled Notorious B.I.G. as the (K.O.N.Y) Tunz-O-Gunz, which recreates the classic photo with a collage of tiny images of guns; and a contact sheet with nine shots from the session.

The lot is part of an auction devoted entirely to the history of hip-hop, a first for any major international auction house. Other items include a collection of love letters Tupac Shakur wrote to his high school sweetheart, Salt-N-Pepa’s matching “Push It” jackets, and more. You can explore the other offerings here.