What is a Shooting Star / Falling star?

What is a shooting star/falling star? A shooting star is a particle from outer space which has the size of a grain of dust or pebble that burns up in the earth’s atmosphere on its flight to earth.

shooting star falling star

So the beautiful white lines in the night sky are not UFO flight paths … Before their contact with the earth’s atmosphere, these small rocks moved through space as so-called meteoroids.

There are millions of meteoroids in our solar system.

Meteoroids therefore shoot towards our earth from all directions and several times a day.

We see the light they produce in the atmosphere as shooting stars.

In the technical language they are called meteors.

Patient observers can discover shooting stars in the sky on any clear night, especially in the dark morning hours.

Why the earth is always getting “attacked”

Meteoroids travel at tens of thousands of kilometers per hour before they encounter air resistance in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The air resistance slows them down and heats up the small particles by the strong friction until the gas around them is several thousand degrees hot and starts to burn.

On average, a meteoroid glows for about one second and draws a tail of a few hundred kilometers before it burns up completely at an altitude of 80-30 kilometers above the earth.

Very rarely there are also larger lumps of material, which glow much brighter than normal shooting stars.

Their luminosity is so strong that you can see them even during the day, and they make a thunder-like sound.

Sometimes they are so big that they don’t burn up completely, but parts of them hit the earth.

We call these pieces of rock from outer space meteorites. From movies we know that very large meteorite impacts can cause catastrophes, but the probability of such events is tiny.

It’s raining meteoroids

Some meteoroids were originally particles of a comet orbiting around the sun, leaving behind a myriad of dust particles and stones on its orbit.

When the Earth crosses the orbit of the comet, we collide with these particles as if we were driving through a snowstorm.

Several shooting stars shoot from the same direction towards the earth. This phenomenon can also be observed in the night sky, and a whole “shooting star rain” appears.

Since the orbits of comets can be calculated, we can also predict encounters with comet particles and thus the occurrence of a shooting star rain.

Every year from August 10-14, particles from the dust tail of comet Swift-Tuttle rush to Earth.

Since the shooting stars appear in the sky in the region of the constellation Perseus, they are called Perseids.

By the way, also in mid-November it rains shooting stars every year. They come from the direction of the constellation Leo and are called Leonids.

Make a wish when you see a shooting star!

It is said that whoever sees a shooting star may make a wish and the wish comes true … Whether you believe it or not, the celestial spectacle is always beautiful!

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8 replies on “What is a Shooting Star / Falling star?”

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