Have You Seen a Shooting Star?


For the past three summers in mid August my family and I would always go out around midnight and lay on our driveway, watching a meteorite shower for hours. We live on a farm so it gets really dark and makes a perfect front row seat to the sky. It really is a neat experience to see with your own eyes! So why do meteorite showers always occur around this time and what exactly is a shooting star?


I have found that the meteor shower I usually watch every summer is called Perseid. It's usually recommended to look "northeastern in the sky where most of the shooting stars are viewed. The Perseid meteor shower is actually created from Comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. The debris left over from the comet is more than 1,000 years old. As Earth passes through the icy, dusty surge of debris, its gravity pulls the debris into the atmosphere. This causes the remains to vaporize creating what we know as 'shooting stars'" ("Perseid").

On "April 12, 2012 in California, Sutter's Mill Meteorite collided into Earth. Scientists collected small pieces of the meteorite, which they believe is only a fragment from the asteroid still in space. They discovered carbonaceous chondrite in the meteor that provides information to scientists about the previous stages of the solar system" ("Meteorite"). "Carbonaceous chondrite is the oldest substance known from space. It's created in oxygen-rich locations and some even have organic matter" ("Carbonaceous"). So there might just be life somewhere in space after all. "Scientist, Peter Jenniskens, believes the asteroid came from the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter" ("Meteorite"). 

             "Jupiter's powerful gravity pushed the asteroid out of its normal path leading it to Earth. Jenniskens believes the meteorite could be 50,000-90,000 years old! It's classified as a Breccia, which means that it's a configuration of different kinds of material that will take many years to analyze" ("Meteorite").

I highly suggest seeing either the Perseid or the Leonids meteorite showers. You won't be disappointed! Here is a list for these and other meteorite showers upcoming dates for 2013-2016. So go outside, grab a blanket, find a nice place to settle down away from the lights, be patient and get ready for a fantastic show!

Have you seen a shooting star or experienced watching a meteorite shower?



Works Cited

"Carbonaceous Chondrites." Meteorite.ft-All About Meteorites. 10 Sept. 2013 <http://www.meteorite.fr/en/classification/carbonaceous.htm>.

"Meteorite From California Fireball Reveals Its Secrets." Space.com. 13 Sept. 2013. <http://www.space.com/18995-sutters-mill-california-meteorite.html>.

"Perseid Meteor Shower Is Peaking Now: How to Watch." Space.com. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://www.space.come/22332-perseid-meteor-shower-peaking-now.html>.

"2013 Meteor Showers." StarDate. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://stardate.org/nightsky/meteors>.

Photo of Shooting Star: <http://en.es-static.us/upl/2013/04/lyrid-meteor-shower-2013-north-carolina.jpg>.

Photo of Asteroid Belt: <http://images.wikia.com/rocketscience/images/f/ff/Asteroid-belt.gif>.


Hi Danielle,

That's so fun that you and your family all watch Perseid together! My family usually goes on vacation around that time and every year we notice shooting starts while sitting on the deck at night, I guess this would be the same meteorite shower! I think it's so cool watching these amazing events because it really gets you thinking about why they happen and what else is possibly going on way out there in space. I actually looked up the best ways to enjoy a meteor shower last summer when my brother and I were planning to watch and here's what I found!


First off, I would like to thank you for the link to the list of meteor showers for the next few years! Unfortunately, I am usually in an area that is heavy on
light pollution so I do not have the pleasure of witnessing meteor showers or a starry night for that matter. When I went to a village in Lesovos, Greece in June, I was able to see the clearest starry night to this date. I was lucky enough to see a sky similar to this. That was the first time I got to witness several shooting stars in one sitting, satellites passing by, a galaxy cloud, and just an overall heavily starry night. This goes to show how light pollution can really tamper with what we see beyond this planet.

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