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40 votes

Does a meteor's direction change between country or latitude?

If you see the same meteor, it of course only has one path - even while the apparent movement differs for different observers. What you basically do in that case is triangulation - which you could use ...
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30 votes
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Where is the Perseids meteor shower coming from?

The comet sheds material each time it get close to the sun. The sun heats this dirty snow ball, the ice evaporates and tears dust and smaller rocks with it. These dust particles then follow a similar ...
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27 votes
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How long between the moment a meteor is first visible and the moment a meteorite hits the ground?

I'm a researcher at Curtin University working on the Desert Fireball Network. The DFN is the largest fireball observation network in the world, and our primary goal is to recover meteorites with ...
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19 votes

Why did this meteor appear cyan?

The colour of a meteor depends mostly on its chemical composition emission spectrum. To simplify magnesium meteors are noted to have an emission spectrum which results in blue to green colour. ...
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18 votes

Does a meteor's direction change between country or latitude?

Yes, but it depends on your reference system. If the meteor was moving East to West over England, it would appear to be going Left to Right from Norway, but Right to Left from Spain.
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15 votes

How complicated is the heating of meteors?

Your analysis is correct. Compression of the air is the cause of heating. You call this "simple" but the compression depends on the ability of the air to flow around the meteoroid, and as the ...
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13 votes

Does a meteor's direction change between country or latitude?

Yes, if the object is moving between the two of you then your reference systems are different. For example two people standing on opposite sides of a river. One sees it flowing from left to right, the ...
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11 votes
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Is it possible for a virus to come from a meteorite?

There is, believe it or not, a scientific theory regarding this: panspermia. According to the panspermia hypothesis, microbes "hitch" a lift on bodies leaving a planet. They then travel through space ...
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11 votes
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Did I see a mentionable event in Germany early morning on 6th of February 2019?

Fireballs are real but rare events. Meteors are formed when small rocks enter the atomsphere from space. Larger rocks or small asteroids will produce brighter meteors. The brightest meteors are called ...
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11 votes

Where is the Perseids meteor shower coming from?

The comet releases lots of dust particles. The sunlight pushes these particles into orbits not quite the same as the comet Some particles will be pushed into faster orbits, some will be pushed into ...
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10 votes
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What factors influence the Widmanstätten pattern in iron meteorites?

It’s been a while since I studied this, and meteorites are very much not my field, so I’ll share my current understanding but would welcome corrections from those more informed :-) These meteorites ...
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10 votes
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Is it unlikely for a meteor to hit the day side of the earth?

Remember that the Earth, and the meteoroid, are both in orbit around the sun. As the meteoroid approaches Earth, it will also curve due to Earth's gravity. If you imagine the Earth to be stationary ...
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10 votes
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If Earth had no atmosphere, how many people would be killed by meteors every year?

Three millions. For this answer to be any fun, let's first assume that before removing the atmosphere, we have equipped all humans with oxygen supplies. In return, they are not allowed to go indoors ...
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9 votes

Is it possible for a virus to come from a meteorite?

Even if a virus came to Earth from space, it would likely be harmless to life on Earth. Let's look at some biology numbers: Life on Earth uses 20 amino acids (out of about 400 considered chemically ...
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9 votes
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What would happen if Venus was hit by a Chicxulub-like meteor?

Question: Would the dense atmosphere and high surface pressure and temperature lead to a different result compared to what happened here on Earth? Short Answer: No. There will not be any significant ...
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8 votes

Are meteors visible on Mars?

First Shooting Star Seen from Mars space.com 2005 The background image shows the meteor near the top-left and the horizon at the bottom. A red arrow shows the direction of travel. The inset ...
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8 votes

How complicated is the heating of meteors?

Physically, the air in front of the meteor is experiencing adiabatic compression. The jump values of density and temperature before and after the adiabatic shock are given by the Rankine-Hugoniot ...
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7 votes

Is a wavy path possible for a shooting star?

I saw a zig zag meteorite in Bukuru, Northern Nigeria, when I was about 13 in 1959. That started from small to increasing swings, then went out near the horizon. For many years I puzzled about this, ...
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7 votes

Why do most meteors vanish just before hitting the ground?

Only very few meteors actually make it anywhere near the surface of Earth; most burn up 75–100 km above the surface. From your point of view, however, the curvature of Earth's surface may make it look ...
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7 votes
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Any record of the Earth passing through the tail (not trail) of a comet?

Earth passed through the tail of Halley's Comet in 1910. It caused a bit of a panic due to claims that cyanogen detected in the tail would cause harm: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halley%27s_Comet#...
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6 votes
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What's the terminology of a meteor "ditch" when impact happens at an angle?

I think the answer to this is that it doesn't have a name because such "ditches" don't occur for real meteor impacts. In movies and tv shows, these ditches are often shown as being caused by the ...
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6 votes
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What percentage of a lunar meteor strike is blown back into space?

There are some invariances that actually lend themselves well to estimating an answer to this question. From the Deep Impact mission white paper: A 1 mm projectile striking a target at 10 km/s will ...
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5 votes

Is there any way a meteor can hit at less than escape velocity?

Edited. No if you talk about the escape velocity form Earth. This follows simply from the fact that energy $E$ is conserved. An object that is not gravitationally bound to Earth has $E>0$ and hence ...
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  • 5,276
5 votes

The end of the Earth and human history

The end of the Earth and the end of a habitat that can support life are 2 different things. The Earth will not be able to support life as we know it for 4 billion more years. The sun is slowly ...
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  • 1,952
5 votes
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Meteor shower from Moon's "debris"

There is a class of meteorites called Lunar Meteorites and several of those have been found on earth. Of course, it doesn't necessarily indicate whether we have actually witnessed a certain lunar ...
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5 votes
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Why do shooting stars burn close to the ground sometimes?

What you described is simply impossible. Meteors glow because its surface is being vaporized. When they enter the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere they are typically travelling several ...
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5 votes
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Could pure iron from a star make it to Earth?

Sure. Iron is not made in significant quantities in the Big Bang, so 100% of the iron on Earth today was synthesized in a star. There's no other source. It escapes in many ways: Supernovae Mergers ...
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5 votes

Satellite?? Star?? I am puzzled over what I just saw

tl;dr, Like Aaron F mentioned in the comments, this is likely a drone. Let’s consider why it probably isn’t anything else. The nearest star to us, Proxima Centauri, is located 1.3 parsecs away from us....
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4 votes
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What's the distribution curve for meteor sightings?

The meteor sightings in a meteor shower can be approximated to a normal distribution. In fact, research papers use a normal distribution to model meteor showers. The exact characteristics of the ...
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