If you’re a serious astronomy buff like many of us, you can probably remember a childhood incident that inspired you to take up this exciting hobby. You may have seen it for the first time through a telescope. But for many of us, the first time we saw the fiery rain fall from the sky, we eventually came to know it as a meteor shower.
When you first see this, it’s easy to remember the movie “War of the Worlds” or some other great image of aliens entering our atmosphere to take over the planet. But with some guidance and explanation of what was happening, we eventually learned that these showers were not a threat or an attack. For the most part, meteor showers are harmless, part of nature, and a lot of fun to watch.
So what is this strange light in the sky? Are aliens invading Mars? Is a Comet Coming to Start the Next Ice Age? Or perhaps asteroids burn up as soon as they enter Earth’s atmosphere. The answer to the above question is no for the first and “yes and no” for the remaining two.
A meteoroid is a small piece of space debris, usually dust or small rocks, that comes from the breakup of a comet or asteroid in space and that eventually falls toward Earth. We say “Earthside” because the light you see is atmospheric friction that burns up those little bits of space and in doing so puts on a spectacular show for all of us. A particularly exciting moment to witness occurs when a meteorite breaks or explodes during entry. A meteor that explodes is called a bolide.
Also, Read – Space: The Final Frontier
There are some interesting details about the life of a meteor that makes watching shooting stars even more fun. As it turns out, the weight of a meteorite should only be one-millionth of a gram. But what makes them so spectacular to watch is the tremendous speed they reach once they enter the atmosphere. Before burning up, a meteoroid will travel between 11 and 74 kilometers per second, which is 100 times faster than a speeding bullet.
We don’t see a shooting star as a whimsical phenomenon and we associate it with superstition (hence, wishing on a lucky star). But there are actually thousands of them every year, so it’s not really that rare. In fact, scientists tell us that more than 200,000 tons of space material enter the atmosphere every year and burn up upon entry.
Also, Read – Radio Astronomy for Beginners
Comets are a major source of meteorites due to the nature of their long tails. Large amounts of dust, ice, and other space debris become trapped in a comet’s tail as it travels toward the Sun. This material is then thrown into space when the comet moves away from the Sun in its orbit. As Earth moves in its regular orbit around the Sun, it often passes through a cloud of this debris that becomes one of those “meteor showers” that are so popular to watch.
These showers of shooting stars are easy enough for astronomers to predict so you can watch for the flare at the right time of night and in the right area of the night sky. Usually, astronomy magazines or sites will give you a general time and place to be ready to watch when the meteor shower begins.
Also, Read – Sky: Pictures in the Sky
Now, remember, this is a phenomenon of nature, so it may not follow an exact timetable. Also, note that there is a notation system for where meteor showers will occur based on the constellation background. The part of the sky to focus on for the show is called the “bright” because this is where the meteors appear to shine or radiate. The radiation is named after the constellation that is closest to it. Therefore, if there is a meteor shower in Leo, its brightness will be called Leonids. This will help you understand the list of asteroid showers in publications.
Also, Read – who are our neighbors in space
FAQ for Shooting Stars:-
What exactly are shooting stars?
Shooting stars, or meteorites, are caused by tiny particles of dust from space. These particles burn up 65 to 135 km above the Earth’s surface as they plunge at breakneck speed into the upper atmosphere, causing the air to glow.
How rare is it to see shooting stars?
Shooting stars are very common. Rocks from space regularly enter Earth’s atmosphere, with about a million stars breaking up around the world every day. To try to see a shooting star, the sky should ideally be clear. The best way to see one is to gaze at some point in the sky for about 20 minutes.
Are Shooting Stars worth watching?
This is their first time as a love team and yet their chemistry is so great, it’s overflowing. Seeing them will definitely make your heart beat faster. They’re so cute and funny when they make fun of each other, and when they finally admit they’re in love with each other, it’s just killer.