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Meteoroid • Asteroid • Atmosphere of Earth • Sky • Meteor shower

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Meteoroid • Asteroid • Atmosphere of Earth • Sky • Meteor shower

Meteoroid • Asteroid • Atmosphere of Earth • Sky • Meteor shower

Here is the calendar of Astronomy events in 2020. The highlights of 2020 are:

January 3: Quadrantids Meteor Shower
January 10: Partial Lunar Eclipse
February 9: First Supermoon of 2020
March 9: Second Supermoon of 2020
March 20: The Spring Equinox
April 8: Third Supermoon of 2020
April 22-23: Lyrids Meteor Shower
May 6: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
May 7: Fourth Supermoon of 2020
June 5: Partial Lunar Eclipse
June 21: Annular Solar Eclipse
June 21: Summer Solstice
July 5: Partial Lunar Eclipse
July 14: Jupiter at Opposition
July 20: Saturn at Opposition
August 13: Perseid Meteor Shower
September 11: Neptune at Opposition
September 22: The Autumn Equinox
October 13: Mars At Opposition
October 22: Orionids Meteor Shower
October 31: Blue Moon
October 31: Uranus At Opposition
November 5: Taurids Meteor Shower
November 15: Leonids Meteor Shower
November 30: Partial Lunar Eclipse
December 13: Geminids Meteor Shower
December 14: Total Solar Eclipse
December 21: The Winter Solstice
December 22: The Ursid Meteor Shower

Meteoroid • Asteroid • Atmosphere of Earth • Sky • Meteor shower

What Is a Meteor Shower?

If it is time for a meteor shower, you will not want a telescope, binoculars, or a excessive mountain to have a “star gazing” social gathering. You may want a heat sleeping bag and an alarm clock to wake you in the midst of the evening. However then simply mendacity down in your individual again yard will put you within the good spot to take pleasure in a terrific present.

animation showing a shooting star (meteor) streaking across sky.

METEORS

A meteor is a space rock—or meteoroid—that enters Earth’s atmosphere. Because the area rock falls towards Earth, the resistance—or drag—of the air on the rock makes it extraordinarily scorching. What we see is a “taking pictures star.” That vivid streak just isn’t really the rock, however moderately the glowing scorching air as the recent rock zips by way of the ambiance.

When Earth encounters many meteoroids directly, we name it a meteor bathe.

Diagram shows Sun in center, Earth orbiting, and lop-sided comet orbit intersecting earth orbit.

Why would Earth encounter many meteoroids directly? Nicely, comets, like Earth and the opposite planets, additionally orbit the solar. Not like the practically round orbits of the planets, the orbits of comets are normally fairly lop-sided.

As a comet will get nearer to the solar, a few of its icy floor boils off, releasing a lot of particles of mud and rock. This comet particles will get strewn out alongside the comet’s path, particularly within the interior photo voltaic system (the place we dwell) because the solar’s warmth boils off increasingly more ice and particles. Then, a number of occasions every year as Earth makes its journey across the solar, its orbit crosses the orbit of a comet, which implies Earth smacks right into a bunch of comet particles.

However to not worry.

The meteoroids are normally small, from mud particle to boulder dimension. They’re virtually all the time sufficiently small to rapidly dissipate in our ambiance, so there’s little likelihood any of them will strike Earth’s floor. However there’s a good likelihood that you may see a gorgeous taking pictures star present in the midst of the evening!

Image of dark sky, with shooting stars radiating outward from a point in the center.

Within the case of a meteor bathe, the glowing streaks could seem wherever within the sky, however their “tails” all appear to level again to the identical spot within the sky. That is as a result of all of the meteors are coming at us on the similar angle, and as they get nearer to Earth the impact of perspective makes them appear to get farther aside. It is like standing in the midst of railroad tracks and seeing how the 2 tracks come collectively within the distance.

Meteor showers are named for the constellation the place the meteors look like coming from. So, for instance, the Orionids Meteor Bathe, which happens in October every year, look like originating close to the constellation Orion the Hunter.

Plan forward

Listed below are dates of main meteor showers. Peak viewing occasions will range by a day or two every year. Consider: If the moon is full or close to full, it’s possible you’ll not see many meteors. Some years are higher than others for numbers of meteors per hour.

Quadrantids
Lyrids
Perseids
Orionids
Leonids
Geminids

December/January
April
August
October
November
December

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