Meteor

Eta Aquarid meteor shower kicks off this week

Eta Aquarid meteor shower kicks off this week

Skywatchers will want to be looking to the heavens this week to see debris from the tail of Halley's Comet light up the night sky. The meteor shower resulting from the debris is called the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Meteors in the shower known for their high velocity. They travel at about 148,000 mph when they enter the Earth's atmosphere.

Continue Reading

Researchers discover water inside a meteorite from the early solar system

Researchers discover water inside a meteorite from the early solar system

Water is abundant both on Earth and in our own solar system. Water ice has been detected on the moon, in comets, and the rings of Saturn, among other locations in the solar system. Studies have determined that water played an important role in the early formation of our solar system. To learn more about the role water played, researchers have searched for evidence of liquid water in meteorites.

Continue Reading

Amateur astronomers have great sky watching to look forward to this month

Amateur astronomers have great sky watching to look forward to this month

We're halfway through April, but amateur astronomers and backyard sky gazers still have some spectacles to look forward to in the nighttime sky. Starting on the 16th of April, the annual Lyrid meteor shower began. Each year that meteor shower kicks off when the Earth travels through what remains of the tail of a comet called Thatcher.

Continue Reading

New research shows the oldest meteorite crater on Earth isn’t actually a crater

New research shows the oldest meteorite crater on Earth isn’t actually a crater

In 2012, scientists identified what they believed was a remnant of a three billion-year-old meteorite crater in the Archean Maniitsoq structure in Greenland. During fieldwork in the same location, a team of scientists from the University of Waterloo has found that the region's features are inconsistent with an impact crater. According to the lead scientist on the project, Chris Yakymchuk, the area's zircon crystalline rocks are like "little time capsules."

Continue Reading

Evidence of water movement found in meteorites that recently hit the earth

Evidence of water movement found in meteorites that recently hit the earth

A team of international researchers has discovered evidence of recent water movement in meteorites that recently impacted the earth. The researchers looked at carbonaceous chondrite (CC) meteorites that impacted the surface of the planet within the past 100 years. The discovery of evidence of recent water movement is significant because many scientists believe water present on the Earth came from meteorites.

Continue Reading

2021 kicks off with the Quadrantid meteor shower peaking tonight

2021 kicks off with the Quadrantid meteor shower peaking tonight

We're only a couple of days into the new year, and skywatchers have something to look forward to in the late evening hours tonight, and the early morning hours on Sunday, January 3. The Quadrantid meteor shower reached its peak Saturday night into the early AM hours of Sunday morning. This could be one of the strongest meteor showers of the year, but we won't have ideal viewing conditions.

A bright waning gibbous moon will limit the amount of meteors visible from the ground. Other challenges could prevent some from being able to see the meteors, including cloud cover. The meteor shower also has a relatively short peak lasting only six hours. Ideal viewing hours in the northern hemisphere will be 2 a.m. local and dawn.

Viewers can expect between 50 and 100 meteors per hour with the best viewing in rural areas. The brightness of the moon will reduce the number of meteors seen. Those wanting to try and view the Quadrantid meteor shower will want to watch the northeastern sky and look about halfway up.

The Quadrantid shower could produce some fireballs, but mostly watchers will see what are typically called shooting stars. The American Meteor Society says that viewers should watch the sky for at least an hour. The Quadrantid meteor shower gets its name from a constellation called Quandris Muralis, which no longer exists as a recognized constellation.

The constellation was first observed in 1795 between Bootes and Draco, but it is considered obsolete and is no longer on the International Astronomical Union's list of modern constellations. The meteor shower will radiate between the Big Dipper and Bootes. The source of the meteor shower is a "rock comet" similar to the Geminid shower.

Fireball over China creates loud explosions

Fireball over China creates loud explosions

It's not particularly uncommon for meteorites to enter the Earth's atmosphere that are large enough to create fireballs and explosions. The latest unidentified fireball entered the atmosphere and streaked over Nanqiang County in China. According to Chinese media, the event happened on Wednesday, and there was no damage or casualties caused by the fireball. It did produce loud explosions heard by many residents of the area.

Continue Reading

Ursid meteor shower peaks on December 21 and 22

Ursid meteor shower peaks on December 21 and 22

Skywatchers need to be looking to the skies next week when on December 22, the Ursid meteor shower will reach its peak. This is a significantly smaller meteor shower than others that have occurred in recent months and is only viewable from the northern hemisphere. However, those able to see it will be treated to between five and ten meteors streaking across the night sky per hour.

Continue Reading

Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight and tomorrow morning

Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight and tomorrow morning

Skywatchers have something to look forward to tonight with the Geminid meteor shower peaking December 13 and 14th. Some Western states currently have snow cover and snowstorms, which might rule out sky watchers getting to observe one of the strongest meteor showers of the year. The Geminids could be visible in the late evening hours on Sunday, but the ideal time to look to the skies would be around 2 AM Monday.

Continue Reading

December’s Geminid meteor shower expected to be one of the year’s best

December’s Geminid meteor shower expected to be one of the year’s best

Skywatchers who have missed the other meteor showers that occurred in 2020 have another chance with the Geminid meteor shower underway. The Geminid meteor shower started on December 4, and at its peak, viewers can see more than 100 shooting stars per hour. Making the meteor shower even more intriguing is that you don't have to wake up before dawn to see the shower at its most active.

Continue Reading

Scientists claim the solar system formed in less than 200,000 years

Scientists claim the solar system formed in less than 200,000 years

Often scientists talk about the cosmic timescale. For humans, a decade is often viewed as a long time. On a cosmic timescale, 10 years or even a hundred years is the blink of an eye. Cosmic timescales are measured in millions or billions of years. Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory recently announced that research indicates our solar system formed in less than 200,000 years.

Continue Reading

Look to the skies next week to view the Taurids meteor shower

Look to the skies next week to view the Taurids meteor shower

Amateur astronomers and skywatchers need to have their eyes on the heavens next week as the Taurid meteor shower could result in some impressive fireballs. Fireballs are a technical term for extremely bright meteors streaking through the atmosphere. For those unfamiliar, the Taurids are split into the Northern Taurids and the Southern Taurids.

Continue Reading

1 2