Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How common is it to see a shooting star?

Just wondering, how common is it to look up at the sky and see a shooting star, or two in the space of 10 minutes.|||It can be very common especially when you have a new moon, no ambient light, and watch the sky during a meteor show.

Keep in mind that shooting stars really aren't stars at all. They are debris from space buring up entering earths atmosphere.|||That's pretty good on a normal night. Could have been debris or a satellite coming down.

I'm glad you asked because I needed to check for this year. The Persieids Meteor shower is one of the easiest to watch in North America because it is one of the bigger ones and it is in August every year when you don't mind so much laying outside.

I just checked the Sky and Telescope Meteor page and it's peak night this year is Aug. 13 with approx 60 meteors per hour. You never know some years there are meteor storms! Lay outside on the ground where you are away from city lights and when you start seeing meteors(falling stars) try to determine the direction they are coming from and watch that path.|||Very common just look up after a few minutes you will see one|||Yes, 3-6 fall to Earth every day. However only 1 in 10000000000 are big enough to cause widspread damage.|||2 in 10 minutes, not at all unusual. depending on the time, after midnight you are heading into the space in front of earth instead of being shadowed by earth before midnight, 1 per minute or two minutes is normal.|||If you have little light pollution, very common indeed.|||On clear nights I have seen one every 5 minutes or so, only when the sky was very dark and clear though. Northern CA, Northeastern CT, or NH|||Is very comon , small metorites bombard the earth all the time.|||Well right now there is the Perseid meteor shower (will peak sometime around August 12) so it is pretty common.

I am sorry to burst your bubble.|||Its random.|||It most certainly is not random. And they are neither steroids nor asteroids. Asteroids are by definition at least 50 metres in size.

Shooting stars are properly known as Meteor Showers, and are made up of small particles which burn out in the upper atmosphere, and that is what you see when you know where to look.

Earth passes through the debris left behind by a particular comet at a particular time of the year. in its journey round the sun. That is why the Perseod meteor shower is always in August. Also all meteors in any particular shower have the same point from which they radiate in the sky, the radiant. They can go in any direction, but they have the same "origin" (in the sense of (0,0) is the origin on a graph),

I give below a table of upcoming meteor showers. This really is just like the Met Office predicting showers of rain, the phenomenon is well understood.


Name .............Duration....... Peak Strength

Alpha Cygnids Jul 11-Jul 30 Jul 18 Weak

Sigma Capricornids Jul 15-Aug 11 Jul 20 Weak

Pisces Austrinids Jul 15-Aug 10 Jul 28 Medium

South Delta Aquarids Jul 12-Aug 19 Jul 28 Strong

Alpha Capricornids Jul 3-Aug 15 Jul 30 Medium

South Iota Aquarids Jul 25-Aug 15 Aug 4 Medium

North Delta Aquarids Jul 15-Aug 25 Aug 8 Medium

Perseids Jul 17-Aug 24 Aug 12 Strong

Kappa Cygnids Aug 3-Aug 25 Aug 17 Medium

North Iota Aquarids Aug 11-Aug 31 Aug 20 Medium

Pi Eridanids Aug 20-Sep 5 Aug 25 Weak

Gamma Doradids Aug 19-Sep 6 Aug 28 Weak

Alpha Aurigids Aug 25-Sep 5 Sep 1 Medium


From earliest times, humankind has noticed flurries of meteors that seemed to emanate from particular points in the sky at particular times of the year. These flurries, now called meteor showers, are produced by small fragments of cosmic debris entering the earth's atmosphere at extremely high speed. When the number of meteors is large, it is called a meteor storm.

Each time a periodic comet swings by the Sun, it produces large amounts of small particles which will eventually spread out along the entire orbit of the comet to form a meteoroid "stream". If the Earth's orbit and the comet's orbit intersect at some point, then the Earth will pass through this stream for a few days at roughly the same time each year, producing a meteor shower. The parent bodies (comets) of most known meteor showers have now been identified.

Most meteors seen in meteor showers are caused by particles smaller than a grain of sand. As a result it is very rare to have any meteorites hit the ground during a typical meteor shower.

Because meteor shower particles are all traveling in parallel paths, and at the same velocity, they will all appear to radiate from a single point in the sky to an observer below. This radiant point is caused by the effect of perspective, similar to railroad tracks converging at a single vanishing point on the horizon when viewed from the middle of the tracks.


The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle.

The shower is visible from mid-July each year, but the bulk of its activity falls between August 8th and 14th with a peak on August 12th. During the peak, rates of a hundred or more meteors per hour can be registered.

Meteor showers can be seen when Earth moves through a meteor stream. The stream in this case is called the Perseid cloud and it stretches along the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud is comprised of particles ejected by the comet as it passed by the Sun. Most of the dust in the cloud today is approximately a thousand years old.

However, there is also a relatively young filament of dust in the stream that boiled off the comet in 1862. The approximate rate of meteors originating from this filament is much higher than normal.

The Perseids are called so because the point they appear to be coming from, called the radiant, is in the constellation of Perseus. However, they can be spotted all around the sky. Because of the positioning of Swift-Tuttle's orbit, Perseids are mostly visible in the northern hemisphere.

The famous Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the first known information on these meteors coming from the far east.

Do try and find somewhere away from street lighting and try and get a glimpse of them, When they are cascading through the skies at the rate of !00 an hour, you shouldn't have to wait long to see one!

Just find out where Perseus will be in the sky at the time you propose to view, and how to find Perseus from other better-known constellations like Orion.|||Shooting stars are steroids. We can more shooting stars in remote areas where there is no bright light during nights.

Also, certain areas of the globe attracts more asteroids.|||Veronica be real-any one that sees you princess has seen a shooting star-thanks too-david

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