On June 30, celebrate National Meteor Watch Day by learning as much as possible about the phenomenon and its effects on Earth. Let’s begin by defining what meteors are. Have you ever watched a movie in which the characters are seeking for shooting stars? A meteorite by any other name is still a meteorite! These’shooting’ or ‘falling’ stars are fragments of asteroids that originate from the solar system. It can take millions of years for these fragments to reach Earth. To learn more about the day, conduct a fast Google search OR keep reading!
The background of National Meteor Watch Day
Meteors are also known as’space rocks’ because they descend to Earth from outer space. However, when these rocks penetrate our atmosphere, they leave a glowing trail in the sky, making them quite noticeable. The International Astronomical Union defined meteors as “solid objects moving in interplanetary space” in 1961.
Since the beginning of time, meteors have existed; it simply took scientists time to uncover their existence. Numerous astronomers, such as Dennis Olmsted, began analysing meteor showers in order to determine their origins in the 19th century, when meteors acquired widespread popularity. In 1866, scientists such as Hubert A. Newton started to predict the next meteor shower. The study of meteorites is also essential for determining the history of the solar system.
People were also enthralled by the fact that meteors differ in size and weight. Others are as small as pebbles that we can hold in our palms, while some are enormous and weigh over 60 tonnes. The world’s largest meteorite was discovered in Namibia in 1920. The space asteroid measured nine feet in diameter, weighed sixty tonnes, and was composed of an iron-nickel alloy. In addition, some meteors descend to Earth with a spectacular entry that frequently causes destruction and death. These meteorites are referred to as fireballs. Finally, meteorites are responsible for the craters on the moon!
5 FUN FACTS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT METEORS
Fireballs are meteorites that are brighter than average.
The Greek word for’meteor’ translates to’suspended in air.’
A meteor eight miles long triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs.
NASA estimates that 48.5 tonnes of meteoric material descend to Earth every day.
Meteors are composed of the earliest rocks in the solar system.
NATIONAL METEOR WATCH DAY DATES