Meteor Showers Facts

Meteor Showers Facts
Meteor showers are streams of cosmic debris that enters Earth's atmosphere at a very high speed on parallel trajectories. It is a celestial event in which many meteors are observed to radiate and travel across the sky. They are usually named for the constellation in which their radiant appears. Most meteors are visible at around 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) away. Some even cause a brighter flash when they splatter, referred to as a fireball, which can often be seen during the day and even heard up to 30 miles away. On average, meteors can speed through the atmosphere at around 32,000 mph (48,280 kph) and reach temperatures of around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,648 degrees Celsius). When meteors hit the ground on Earth, their speed is roughly what it was upon entry and they blast craters 12 to 20 times their size.
Interesting Meteor Showers Facts:
Even though we cannot see them, meteors fall to earth during the day. It is very rare that a meteorite will ever strike a human being and more likely that one would fall into the ocean.
Meteor showers are usually caused by debris from comets. When Earth moves through those debris trails, we then see more comets.
People viewing meteor showers from the Northern Hemisphere are in the best position to catch the best showing. The best season to view a meteor shower is Summer and the best time would be in the pre-dawn hours.
A bright moonlight can drown out all but the brightest meteors. Some of the best shows of meteor showers happen once or twice in a lifetime.
Many years ago, it was thought that meteors were gifts from angels, while others thought it was a sign of anger from the gods. In the 17th century, many believed they fell from thunderstorms and were nicknamed thunderstones.
The largest meteorite located in the United States was in 1948 when witnesses saw a giant fireball in the afternoon that some claimed was brighter than the Sun. It was found in a wheat field in southern Nebraska buried 10 feet deep in the ground. It weighed 2,360 pounds.
There are several periodic meteor showers that astronomers and amateur observers look for every year, for example the Perseid meteor showers with more than 60 meteors per minute and is widely watched each year in August. The earliest record known of the Perseids meteor shower is found in Chinese annals from 36 AD. It is associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle which takes 133 years to orbit the Sun.
The most impressive is the Leonid meteor shower that peak every year in mid-November. They are a fast-moving stream of meteors which encounter the path of Earth. In 1833, observers estimated that hundreds of thousands of meteors flashed through the sky. An annual Leonid shower may deposit 12-14 tons of particles across the entire planet.
In December, the Geminid meteor shower appears when Earth crosses the path of the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. It appears the meteors come from the direction of the constellation Gemini and observers noted that they move more slowly compared to other meteors. The Geminids spray up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak.

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