Every year on June 30th people across the country search for meteors in the skies as they celebrate National Meteor Day. There are MILLIONS of meteors that occur in the Earth's atmosphere daily.
A meteor, also known as a shooting star, is produced by debris falling to the Earth from space. People often seek out these meteors, or shooting stars, to make a wish. This tradition can be traced all the way back to 127 AD. Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer, hypothesized that the Gods occassionally liked to peer down at Earth from the other world. Sometimes a star would slip past them and fall through the heavens showing those on Earth that the Gods were paying attention, making it the perfect time to wish upon a star.
Meteors are actually quite small, they average only about the size of a pebble. Nearly 15,000 tons of meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere every day however, very few of them actually reach the surface. When they do reach the Earth's surface they are called meteorites.
According to some research, a meteor impacted Tunguska, Siberia on June 30th, 1908, showing this may be the origin of National Meteor Day. This was referred to as the "Siberian Explosion" which detonated with an estimated power of 1,000 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima, it leveled trees over 40 kilometers away and shook the ground in a massive earthquake.
Meteors are typically observed at night and are visible when they are about 34 to 70 miles above the Earth. They usually disintegrate at about 31 to 51 miles above and their glow time is normally about a second.
The next visible and famous meteor shower to grace our presence will be our favorite of course, the Perseids in the middle of August.
Did you get to wish upon a star this Meteor Day? We hope all of your wishes came true!