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10 Facts About Shooting Stars

I was doing a bit of star-gazing outside just now and I glimpsed a shooting star flying through the sky. Pretty awesome! I've seen shooting stars before (it's been a while), but I was still in awe tonight when it happened. According to www.astrojunkies.com, below are 10 facts about shooting stars.

Check out this interesting YouTube video where photographer, Colin Legg, makes time-lapse movies of celestial scenes, from auroras, to eclipses, to shooting stars. Some of the scenes and images he captures are truly stunning.

    1. Shooting stars aren't actually stars.

    Shooting stars may be called shooting stars, but this is not exactly the case. If you think about it, if it actually was a star, we would be in some serious trouble. Luckily, a shooting star is actually not that complicated once you understand what it is. So what are shooting stars? The simple answer is any small object that enters the Earth’s atmosphere from space.

    2. So if shooting stars aren’t stars, why do they glow?

    This is also a simple answer as well, and the reason that they glow is due to the fact that they become very hot. When something enters the Earth’s atmosphere, from space at least, it tends to burn up and gain quite a bit of speed due to the Earth’s gravity. This causes it to get that glowing aura that you see when they fly on by.

    While they may not seem as exciting as you may have hoped, trust on this one, if you see one you’ll still be in awe either way. There is nothing like the sight of a flaming object flying through the sky.

    3. So what do shooting stars actually look like?

    A shooting star will usually resemble that of a glowing object flying across the sky. They will usually emit a yellowish -or orangeish- glow. This is caused by the heat they catch coming through the atmosphere. Shooting stars will also leave what looks like a glowing tail behind them as well.

    Also, typically these stars are small, but they can vary in size. The reason that they’re called shooting stars is simple: they actually look like a star shooting through the sky.

    So the short answer here is that they do really resemble a star shooting across the sky. Most shooting stars will look the same, because the glow is caused by heating up within the atmosphere.

    4. What are shooting stars made of, if they’re not actually stars?

    Shooting stars can be made up of quite a few things. To be quite honest with all of you, the common shooting stars are made up of dust or rocks that come crashing through the Earth’s atmosphere. Now, while this may be the case, there are some rare objects that may look like shooting stars as well.

    Now, with that being said, here is a short list as to what shooting stars are made out of:

    • Asteroid based rocks
    • Dust particles from space
    • Comets pieces
    • Rockets entering the atmosphere
    • Satellites entering the atmospheric
    • Payloads entering the atmosphere

    Keep in mind that the last 3 items we mentioned are not considered shooting stars, but to be blunt, they’ll definitely look very similar. Also, the composition of shooting stars, to get a quick science lesson in here, is usually iron based. Just a little fun fact for you.

    5. How common are shooting stars?

    Shooting stars can occur at random, but they can also occur during meteor showers. If you want to actually get out there and see shooting stars, a meteor shower is probably your best shot. Oh, and if you thought they were rare, about 85,000 shooting stars glide through the Earth’s atmosphere every single year.

    6. If shooting stars are common, why don’t I see them?

    If you’re disappointed because you don’t see shooting stars very often, this is due to light pollution. If you live in an area that has a lot of light -this can be a city or even a densely populated suburb- the chances of you seeing a shooting star are very low. Luckily, if you find a dark zone near your area, you should be able to catch a few.

    Shooting stars are actually very common, but a lot of us don’t get to see them because of light pollution. Therefore, if you want to view them, your best shot is to find a dark area.

    7. How small can shooting stars be?


    Shooting stars may seem like they’re huge, and this is due to the flaming aura and tail that they leave behind. Now, while this may be the case, they’re actually quite small. For example, most shooting stars are really only a few millimeters in size. Also, even if they start off big, they tend to shrink down once they get burned up.

    8. How big can shooting stars be?

    Cars seem pretty fast, and even if a car seems slow to you, we bet that a plane breaking the sound barrier probably seems pretty quick. While this may be the case, shooting stars are much faster than you probably think. For example, the average speed of a shooting star ranges between about 23,000 miles per hour and 165,000 miles per hour.

    Keep in mind that the speed varies greatly, because it really depends on how fast a shooting star enters the Earth’s atmosphere.

    9. How fast are shooting stars?

    Cars seem pretty fast, and even if a car seems slow to you, we bet that a plane breaking the sound barrier probably seems pretty quick. While this may be the case, shooting stars are much faster than you probably think. For example, the average speed of a shooting star ranges between about 23,000 miles per hour and 165,000 miles per hour.

    Keep in mind that the speed varies greatly, because it really depends on how fast a shooting star enters the Earth’s atmosphere.

    10. When is the best time to view shooting stars?

    The Perseids meteor shower

    The Perseids meteor shower is probably your best bet when it comes to viewing shooting stars at a designated time. This is due to the fact that meteor showers provide a great viewing experience, and at the peak time of the Persieds shower you can see up to 60 shooting stars per hour. When does this happen? Unusually towards the end of the July early August, so it’s more of a summer thing.

    The Delta Aquarid Meteor shower

    The Delta Aquarid meteor shower is also another really good time to look for some shooting stars. This shower also tends to take place in July, but occurs right around the midway point instead. This meteor shower is a bit less intense, but you could still see roughly 18-23 meteors per hour.If you really want to get the most out of the experience, make sure you get some sleep the day before. This is due to the fact that you’ll see the best results when you checkout the sky between 12 AM and 4 AM. So using night really isn’t the best way to describe it.

    If you want to view shooting stars make sure you’re in an area with low light pollution. Once you do that, try to do some viewing during a meteor shower between 12 and 4 AM.

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