Meteor Shower

Topics: Meteor shower, 1967, 1973 Pages: 2 (598 words) Published: April 8, 2013
Meteor Shower
"Falling stars", “shooting stars" or meteors are the tiny spots of light that splash across the night sky, which are insignificant bits of rock from space. A meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to glow from one point in the night sky. Shower meteors enter our atmosphere at speeds up to 71 km/s. They radiate because friction with air molecules heats them to extreme brightness. Almost all of them disintegrate and never hit the Earth's surface. They burn up in a second or two at altitudes of around 80 km, high in the ionosphere. Strong and unusual meteor showers are known as meteor storms or meteor outbursts, which may produce greater than 1,000 meteors an hour. Shower meteors come from the dust released by comets as they travel through our solar system. Comets are small bodies composed primarily of ice with a little bit of sand or gravel. When comet passes nearby the Sun, its surface heats up, some of the ice evaporates and dust is released. The dust spreads out along the comet's orbit and forms an egg-shaped trail of debris that passes around the sun and crosses the orbits of the planets, also known as a "dust trail". Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through this “dust trail” during its yearly orbit around the sun. Meteor showers are predictable annual events because each year, Earth passes through that same debris trail again on about the same date. Nowadays, some meteors are actually bits of man-made space debris, which tend to be items like paint chips and spent rocket hardware. The meteors they produce can sometimes be identified as man-made because they travel much more slowly across the sky than natural meteors.  Meteors can be observed during any time of the night; however, more meteors will be visible after midnight than before midnight. First you need to find out the time when the meteor shower will be. Next you need to find a specific place with a clear view...
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