Imagine you're standing in your backyard at night, staring at the moon and a glow-in-the-dark baseball whizzes by at 30,000 miles per hour. If that wasn't the fastest pitch ever, then I'd say you just saw a meteor. Lots of meteors are about that size and many travel even faster. Some are bigger than baseballs but most are more like the size of grains of sand. Read on to find about these cosmic visitors.
What is a Meteor?
Meteors can be small dust particles or they can be giant rocks. Once a meteor hits the earth's atmosphere, they begin to burn up, shooting across the sky in a fiery mass. Once a meteor begins to burn up, it gives off a light similar to a star, which is why meteors are often called shooting or falling stars.
When is the Best Time to See a Meteor?
You can catch meteors falling on any night, several times a year as the earth passes through the path of a comet. For a few hours, about a thousand meteors streak across the sky because meteors are just debris that breaks off from a comet. These showers can be predicted because they happen whenever the earth returns to the same place in its orbit around the sun. Meteor showers can be seen August 12th, October 8th and December 13th, 2004 in the Northern Hemisphere.
Meteors - Did U Know?
- Meteors that do not completely burn up completely in earth's atmosphere and end up hitting the ground are called meteorites.
- The best place to catch a meteor shower is in the country, away from city lights.
- Because meteorites are so rare, they can be worth as much as gold!
- Meteorites have often been found to contain minerals that can not be found on earth.