Today Is Meteor Watch Day

meteor day

Today Is Meteor Day

On meteor day take the time out to look up at our beautiful Milky Way.

 

Meteors are more common than you might think. Our skies are constantly being bombarded with debris from asteroids. Some are quite large lumps of

meteor day

rubbish, but chances are the meteor, or shooting star, that you see will be, at best, the size of a pea but more likely the size of a grain of sand!

Oddly, there is not much meteor activity in June anywhere in the sky.

 

July sees an active meteor shower: July 27-28, 2018 Delta Aquariids ,visible in both the Southern Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere.

 

The maximum rate can reach 15-20 meteors per hour in a dark sky. You will probably need to get out of the city to see them as light pollution is an astronomers enemy, along with rain, clouds etc, etc.

More Than A Slight Chance Of Annihilation?

Is there more than a slight chance of a meteor hitting the earth?

There are seven meteor showers that will, or have, hit us in 2018. The Quadrantids (January 3), the Lyrids (April 21/22), the Eta Aquarids (May 6), the Perseids (August 12), the Orionids (August 12), the Leonids (November 17), and the Geminids (December 13).

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So yes, there is more than a slight chance that we will be bombarded by meteors in the very near future. It is not all doom an gloom though.

 

The meteor showers we see are mostly spawned by comets and are named for the constellation of stars through which they appear to rain down from.

Almost all meteors are very small and we see them burn up as they come through our atmosphere.

 

On May 13th this year a meteor was reported over Spain as a bright fireball. It was produced by a rock from an asteroid and hit our atmosphere at 56,000 kmh. See it here. It did not reach the Earths surface as is the case with almost all meteors.

 

These events happen all year round. Not all are observable in either hemisphere. City light can make them invisible.

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There is, however, a slight chance of Earth being hit by an asteroid. Asteroids are much, much larger that meteors.

 

As an example, Asteroid Apophis has a 1 in 100,000 chance of hitting Earth. This asteroid is estimated at near 400 metres wide and is classed as a hazardous NEO (near earth object). asteroid Apophis is expected to fly past us on April 13th 2029.

 

It was initially thought there was a 1 in 36 chance of it hitting the Earth but this has thankfully been ruled out. The apophis is expected to pass at a distance of 29,740 km fist time around.

 

When it next visits, it should be at a distance of around 49 million km.

 

Further reading on the subject is here.

 

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