Meteors' Naked Truth
Happy Earth Day!
Since it’s all about our planet Earth today, which I hope the human race treats more kindly since she’s the only planet we can live on, here’s something about what Earth regularly interacts with. Meteors.
Look into the starlit sky at night, notice that occasional streak of light across it? You watch until it disappears. “Shooting stars” are what we often call them, but they are actually meteors. Composed of space debris, like pieces of asteroids and the dusty tails of comets (space’s dirty snowballs), some meteors can originate from our Moon and other planets too. Made up of metal, rock and metal, or just rock, they go flying through the layers of our atmosphere on a downward path and experience incredible amounts of heat because of friction, hence the light streak. That’s why our returning space vehicles need heat shields to arrive home safely. Scientists estimate 48.5 tons of material from meteors falls on Earth each day.
Meteor enthusiasts get treated regularly to showers of those beacons across the sky. Right now, the Lyrid meteor shower is occurring. Earth is passing through the remnants of the trail of a comet called Thatcher. This space snowball comes around every 415 years. The most recent time was in 1860.
When meteors are happily soaring around in space, they are called meteoroids. Once entering an atmosphere, be it ours or another one of our extraterrestrial neighbors, they become meteors. If they make it all the way down to the surface of a planet, you’ve got a meteorite—three terms for the same piece of space rubble. As the saying goes, it’s location, location, location.
Get your Covid vaccination, wear your mask, and HAPPY WRITING.