The true nature of meteors

Often no larger than grains of sand, shooting stars originate from comet debris. In order not to miss them, follow the guide.

As a jame. Camille Joubert’s column is broadcast daily on Jimmy Gourmaud’s “Sea Jamie” program from Monday to Friday at 5:00 pm on France 5.

The falling stars are actually only comets. In order not to miss them, you just have to keep an eye on the calendar … and the good part is heaven.

Shooting stars are hypersonic sand grains

Comets are blocks of ice, rocks and dust that leave behind a trail of debris. It is this debris that, when it enters our atmosphere, glows and forms a bright star. Their brilliance is like that, since we can see them from Earth, we often think that they impose a lot. In fact, most of them are not larger than grains of sand: supersonic sand grains, with speeds of 11 to 71 km per second, or about 30 to 200 times the speed of sound! Due to the heating caused by friction in the air, the electrons are torn from the atoms, causing a short and extremely sharp beam of light.

From 50 to 100 meteors per hour

And like grains of sand, falling stars often roam in groups: every time the Earth crosses the path of a comet, hundreds of debris cross the atmosphere. During a meteor shower, we can see from 50 to 100 per hour! Almost all meteor showers – scientists talk of a meteor swarm – are linked to a comet. For example, the Perseids, Leonids, and Lyrids are clouds of debris from the comets Swift-Tuttle, Tempel-Tuttle and Thatcher – these are just the names of the scientists who discovered them.

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With each rain of shooting stars its month of the year

And for those who’ve never been able to see them because you’re looking at the wrong corner of the sky, remember that nearly all of their meteor showers are named after the constellation they appear to have come from.[…]


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