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Shooting stars



A clear night allows us to look up at the sky and see something wonderful; stars. How many stars? countless. Basically stars are exploding balls of gas, mostly hydrogen and helium. The huge reaction occuring in stars releases electormagnetic radiation which allows us to see them. A star is a giant ball of plasma which is held together by gravity. Stars are fueled by the nuclear fusion of hydrogen to form helium inside. The relase energy from the central regions of the star provides the pressure necessary to keep the star from collapsing under its own weight, and the energy by which it shines. Stars that are falling are actually tiny bits of dust called meteorodois falling to the earths atmosphere.

Hopefully you have been able to see a shooting star before. S shooting star is a bright light which shoots across the sky. But what really is it? Physics can answer that. They needed to know the stars height above the earth, the distance from the observer, and its mass. But how could this ever be figured out? Height, Distance, Velocity. Where two people could watch the same star and calculate.

Meteors enter earth's atmosphere at velocities centered around 20 km/s. As the kinetic energy carried by a massive object scales with the square of the velocity, meteors are objects have a lot of energy waiting to be released. Stars are little chunks of rock in space and when the Earth moves around the Sun, it will run into some of these small rocks that collide with the atmosphere. The atmosphere heats them up and cause them to glow and eventually burn out.


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It is so interesting to think of all the science that is behind something like shooting stars. Thanks for enlightening me!

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