Friday, August 24, 2012

A term in astronomy: meteorite for a surviving space rock hitting Earth

Meteorites originate from celestial objects such as asteroids or comets that break apart while entering Earth's atmosphere. A penetrating meteorite chemically reacts with atmospheric gases and appears as a fireball—also known as meteor, shooting star or falling star, which typically ends up as dust. Sometimes, however, parts of visible size survive and hit the Earth's surface, where they may be found as space rocks [1] by curious earthlings.

Peter Jenniskens is such a curious human— a meteor astronomer with experience in hunting meteorites in Sudan [2].  He hunts for meteors and meteor showers by surveillance (triangulation of meteor tracks) and by searching the grounds. Interested scientists are invited to participate in the meteor-shower surveillance program [3].

Further naming topics related to astronomical objects:

References and more to explore
[1] Geoffrey Notkin: Have you found a space rock? [].
[2] Filed Notes (as told to Marissa Fessenden): Meteor Hunt. Scientific American September 2012, Volume 307, Number 3, page 23. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican0912-23.
[3] NASA Ames Research Center: Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) [].

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