Everyone knows you’re supposed to make a wish when you see a shooting star. But do you ever wonder what causes these special, lucky meteors to exist in the first place?
Small pieces of space debris, and sometimes even large ones, often enter Earth’s atmosphere. These rocks travel more than eight miles per second, which causes them to rub against the air and burn. From a far distance—like a person standing on Earth and looking to the sky, for example—this burning air looks like a streak of light.
When traveling through space, debris is called a meteoroid. But when it hits Earth, it’s called a meteorite. Meteoroids form when asteroids crash with each other and pieces of rocks come off. Even though some meteorites are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, they can actually be dangerous and cause serious damage when they hit Earth. If big enough, they can even cause craters if they smash into Earth at a quick speed.
Small or big, meteors can be a lot of trouble; however, they also bring us shooting stars. Meteors sure work in big ways for being such small rocks!
[Source: Children’s Atlas of the Universe]