Below will explain a little more about meteors. 


Table of Contents

  1. How do I view a meteor shower?
  2. Where do meteor showers get their names from?
  3. Does a meteor ever make it to earth?
  4. Catching a meteor on film?
  5. What is a Bolide/Fireball ?
  6. When is the next meteor shower ?
  7. Definitions for meteors and meteor showers?

How do I view a Meteor Shower?

[Meteor showers can be seen from any location. However, it is best to go away from city lights to see the meteor shower. Look at the Meteor Shower Calendar  for information on when and how many you will see. The radiant of a meteor shower is  the area the meteor seems to move away from. Don't focus on just the radiant look off from it a bit to catch a glimpse of the meteors. Most showers are best in the morning because of the position of the earth to the dust trails. The Geminid meteor shower is one shower that is fair before midnight.]

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Where do meteor showers get their names from?

[Most meteor showers are named for the constellation that they are in. There are also some meteor showers named after the parent comet.]

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Does a meteor ever make it to earth?

[Sometimes a meteor does make it to earth. At this point the meteor is called a meteorite.]

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Catching a meteor on film?

[Most meteors are very fast. You need a camera that has a bulb setting or a camera that can lock open the shutter. Make sure your camera is on a tripod or other stable surface to avoid camera shake. Aim toward the sky and take your picture. Expose your film anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. When you see one or more meteors trip the shutter. Meteors need to be fairly bright to make it onto film. Most astrophotographers use a film speed of 400 or higher. However, with this fast film you will have some graininess show up on your picture. I lean toward 400 in that its fast, but one can make an 8x10 without it looking to grainy. Try different speeds if possible to see what you prefer. Of course the best chance to catch a meteor is on the night of a meteor shower. ]

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What is a bolide or fireball?

[A Bolide is an extremely bright meteor. They often have flares, sparks, or break up. A bolide is a brilliant fireball. A fireball outshines Venus. Fireballs are sometimes so bright that they cast shadows on the ground.]

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When is the next meteor shower ?

[There are many meteor showers each month. Some are very small or non-existent some years. Go to the Meteor Shower page to see what meteor showers are occurring now. ]

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Definitions of Meteoroid, Meteor, and Meteorite?

[Meteoroid- particle still in space. 

Meteor- a heated particle in the atmosphere. Generally a very small particle. Also known as a shooting star

Meteorite- a particle that  actually makes it to earth's surface!  

Parent Comet- This is where the meteor shower comes from. The comet sheds dust as it travels in the solar system. When earth crosses the dust patches we have meteor showers.]

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