Mother Nature is full of wondrous surprises. From beautiful mountains, to vast deserts to deep seas, it never fails to enthrall us.
One of her most splendid gifts to humanity is meteors. Here are some interesting facts about them;
Basic knowledge about meteors
The word meteor means ‘suspended in the air’ in Greek.
Meteoroids are a bit of rock and ice separated from a comet during their orbit around the sun. A meteor is a meteoroid, which scorches during its journey through the earth’s atmosphere.
Meteors burn up during its journey through the atmosphere of earth is called a fireball. A large meteor is termed as an asteroid.
When many meteors can be seen within a short time frame (preferably within an hour), the occurrence is termed as a meteor shower. This usually happens while the Earth moves through the track of remains left by any comet.
A meteor that hits the earth surface after its passage through the atmosphere called meteorite.
The size of meteors
A meteor can be the size of a dust particle up to a staggering 10 meters in diameter. As mentioned above, a large meteor is called an asteroid.
A meteor going through the atmosphere
A meteor can be seen when it is roughly 120 KM above the ground.
Fascinating traits and realities of meteors
Quite often, meteors produce a sound called a sonic boom. This can be heard a few seconds after the meteor is visible.
Comets uninterruptedly discharge solids with each orbit round the sun; thus replenishing the shower’s meteoroids. Meteors are occasionally witnessed with yellow, green or red tracks. The colors are produced because of the ionization of molecules.
The International Space Station is equipped with a defensive shield to guard it from meteors. This shield has a width of approximately 1 inch!
The largest meteorite discovered until date is the Hoba, currently in Namibia. It was discovered by a farmer while ploughing his fields! It has been named so because the farm it was discovered in was called Hoba West. It weighs a staggering 60 tons, and has a width of 9 feet! It has been declared as a National Monument by the Government of Namibia. It is an urban myth that dinosaurs became extinct because an 8-MILE long meteorite caused a cloud of dust to form, and thus made way for the climate to lower down.
How often do meteors and meteor showers happen?
There are many meteor showers that happen annually, which are observable by enthusiasts on Earth. Talking numbers, approximately 30 occur each year! Nearly each of the said showers has been around for more than a 100 years. One of these showers is called Perseid shower and they occur annually around August. It was initially witnessed roughly 20 centuries ago.
Radars point out that there are roughly 12,000 meteors in the atmosphere on a particular night, and most of the times each meteor is like a grain of sand.
Types of meteorites
- Stony iron
- Carbonaceous Chondrite