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I was wondering what one would see if they were to look through a telescope tracking a meteor as it shot through the sky. Technology aside, would one be able to see the object tumbling or would it always be obscured by the light/dust/plasma?

Basically would there be any advantage to getting a high shutter-speed video with high magnification tracking the leading edge of a meteor or would it not offer any greater detail than just a bright streak in the sky?

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    $\begingroup$ Only before it gets heated, as the answer(s) suggest $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft May 15 '18 at 15:28
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Meteors are very small, typical ones are the size of a grain of sand, and bright fireballs are only a few grams. So they are nowhere near as big as "rocks" and there is no way to image them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteoroid

http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/physics/73-our-solar-system/comets-meteors-and-asteroids/meteors/303-what-is-the-typical-size-of-a-visible-shooting-star-intermediate

https://www.amsmeteors.org/fireballs/faqf/

But let's say you could fly next to a shooting star in a UFO and image it that way. The next problem you would face is that the meteor is incandescent and and it would be difficult to get anything but an overexposed blob in a regular camera.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure but I expect the light in a meteor is coming from the superheated and compressed gas around the actual object, so once more it would be difficult to see through this to actual bit of dust that is burning up. $\endgroup$ – Ags1 May 15 '18 at 10:56
  • $\begingroup$ I wonder what kind of info you could get from a magnified view of the streak itself? Like composition from spectroscopy, or determine how it's tumbling based on changes in the streak? $\endgroup$ – Grantovius May 15 '18 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ Meteor spectrums can be obtained, if you are patient and lucky. Here is a how-to: amsmeteors.org/ams-programs/meteor-spectroscopy/…. Here is a spectrum: google.nl/…: $\endgroup$ – Ags1 May 15 '18 at 19:21

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