What do flies see when they sniff the stars
What is a shooting star?
Every year, especially in August, there is a good chance of seeing shooting stars in the night sky. But what exactly are shooting stars?
People used to believe that shooting stars were made when angels were cleaning stars. In the Middle Ages, cleaning a light meant cutting off the wick of a candle. This cut end was called a "snuff". But falling stars have nothing to do with stars or with falling stars ...
In our solar system there is one sun, eight planets (one of which is our earth) and millions of asteroids. These are minor planets made of rock and metal. If pieces of it break off - for example when two asteroids collide - these debris also fly around in our solar system. They are called meteoroids.
Comets also leave such debris in our solar system. They also revolve around the sun. Comets can be imagined as snow or ice balls with stones enclosed in them. If a comet like this comes near the sun, some of the ice evaporates, releasing rocks and dust. All of these debris are now flying through our solar system in the wake of the comet. They are also called meteoroids.
Sometimes meteoroids get on the wrong track. They are drawn to the earth and tumble down on it. This happens, for example, when the earth crosses the orbit of a comet and the meteoroids in its wake on its way around the sun.
A meteoroid crashes to earth at breakneck speed. When this particle enters the earth's atmosphere, it hits air molecules and compresses them. This compressed air becomes very, very hot - so hot that the debris burns up in the heated air. It leaves a shining mark. We see this trail of light as a falling star or, in scientific terms, as a meteor.
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