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How to Observe a Meteor Shower

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Get some blankets, find a dark hill on a dark night, make sure you’ve napped, and put away that smartphone. The California Academy of Sciences has some excellent tips for seeing shooting stars, more accurately known as meteors: How to Observe a Meteor Shower.

The information is great, but note that the characters are a bit rough with each other at times. Some more info from Sky and Telescope:

The particles hitting our atmosphere are not large — typically they’re no bigger than big sand grains, and something the size of a pea can create a meteor that’s dramatically bright. That’s because they strike at 20 to 45 miles per second, and all that kinetic energy is rapidly dissipated by frictional heat. In fact, we see a meteor’s streak not because the particle is “burning up,” but instead because air molecules along its path become flash-heated to thousands of degrees.

observing a meteor shower
meteor shower calendar
Both The American Meteor Society and EarthSky.org have meteor shower guides for the current year.

Check out more Cal Academy videos or watch related videos on this site:
• They Might Be Giants’ What is a shooting star?
• Inside the Meteorite Clean Room at the Smithsonian.

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