Does An Asteroid Appear As A Streak In The Sky? [TOP ANSWER]

Meteors, also known as shooting stars, are pieces of dust and debris from space that burn up in Earth’s atmosphere, where they can create bright streaks across the night sky 🙌 When Earth passes through the dusty trail of a comet or asteroid’s orbit, the many streaks of light in the sky are known as a meteor shower 🔥 Particularly large chunks of material can create an extra-bright fireball streak, but most meteors are still small enough to entirely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. If a meteor makes it to Earth it’s known as a meteorite. Before they have hit atmosphere the objects are called meteoroids. [1]
Large meteors can explode above the surface, causing widespread damage from the blast and ensuing fire. This happened in 1908 over Siberia, in what’s called the Tunguska event. On June 30, 1908, across hundreds of miles, witnesses saw a ball of fire streak through the sky, suggesting the meteor entered the atmosphere at an oblique angle. It exploded, sending out hot winds and loud noises and shook the ground enough to break windows in nearby villages. Small particles blown into the had atmosphere lit the night sky for several days. No meteorite was ever found, and for years many scientists thought the devastation was caused by a comet. Now, the prevailing theory holds that a meteor exploded just above the surface. [2]
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A recent article from astronomy.com shows that the science of meteor astronomy began in 1833, when a storm of 60,000 meteors an hour shocked the world. By the 1860s, it becamecome clear that many meteor showers were annual — including the normally placid Leonids, which produced the big storm — and that they were somehow related to comets. Astronomers now consider comets to be “dirty snowballs” consisting of a mixture of dust and frozen gases. A comet becomes visible only during its closest approach to the Sun, when areas on the comet’s icy surface become warm enough to evaporate. The resulting jets of evaporating gases carry with them any solid matter mixed with the original ice. At each pass near the Sun, the comet ejects a stream of material. The particles composing the stream orbit the Sun in slightly different paths than the source comet. Each particle receives small accelerations from forces other than gravity, and these orbits become increasingly modified over time. The ejected streams become more diffuse with age and lose their individual identities. Concentrated initially near the comet, the debris diffuses along each stream’s orbit and eventually forms a thin band of material that Earth encounters every year. A meteor shower occurs on the date in the year when Earth passes nearest to the band of material associated with a comet’s orbit. [3]
Where Do Meteorites Come From?Most meteorites appear to come from asteroids. This is based on a comparison of the composition of meteorites with our understanding of the composition of asteroids, based on remote sensing. It also is based on a comparison of the orbits of asteroids and the orbits of meteoroids, calculated from photographs of the meteoroids as they approached Earth. A few meteorites are from the Moon and Mars. These are pieces of the planets that were broken off and knocked into orbit when asteroids struck the planets. Meteorites from the Moon are similar to the samples collected by the Apollo astronauts. The Mars meteorites include sealed pockets of gas that scientists discovered contain the same gases as occur in the atmosphere of Mars. (we thank Constance Storey from Seattle, United States for their insights). [4]

Article References

  1. https://www.space.com/topics/meteors
  2. https://www.space.com/15353-meteor-showers-facts-shooting-stars-skywatching-sdcmp.html
  3. https://astronomy.com/observing/observe-the-solar-system/2010/04/meteors-and-meteor-showers
  4. https://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/skytellers/meteors/
Mehreen Alberts

Written by Mehreen Alberts

I'm a creative writer who has found the love of writing once more. I've been writing since I was five years old and it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. From topics that are close to my heart to everything else imaginable!

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