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What is Meteor Shower?

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

Lyric Meteor showers peaked in Indian skies on April 22nd and will continuously pass through till April 29 at nearly 10-15 meteors every hour.

  • Lyrids are debris of Comet Thatcher, which is currently traveling at a distance of 1,60,00,00,000 kilometers from the planet.
  • Currently traveling away from the Sun, Comet Thatcher will begin its return trajectory in another 45 years.

 

Meteor Shower vs Storm:

Every 33 years, a Leonid shower turns into a meteor storm, which is when hundreds to thousands of meteors can be seen every hour.

  • A meteor storm should have at least 1,000 meteors per hour. In 1966, a Leonid storm offered views of thousands of meteors that fell through the Earth’s atmosphere per minute during a period of 15 minutes.
  • The last such storm took place in2002.

 

What are meteor showers?

  • Meteors are bits of rock and ice that are ejected from comets as they manoeuvre around their orbits around the sun.
  • Meteor showers are witnessed when Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by a comet or an asteroid.

 

What Are the Differences Between An Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite?

  1. Asteroid: A relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.
  2. Comet: A relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.
  3. Meteoroid: A small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.
  4. Meteor: The light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star.
  5. Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands upon the Earth’s surface.

Current Affairs

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the light in a Meteor shower—which is why a meteor is called a shooting star — is a result of the friction between the meteorite and the molecules present in the Earth’s atmosphere because of which it burns?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is an Asteroid?
  2. What is a comet?
  3. What is coma?
  4. Differences between Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite.

Sources: Indian Express.