Awesome Fireball Created By A Meteor Lights up the Sky

As the earth floats through space, it is constantly being bombarded by space junk, asteroids, meteors, and anything else that's floating around out in the vast, endless span of the universe. Occasionally we have some close calls with larger objects that could be planet killers or cause a global catastrophe that could wipe us all out but thankfully that has not happened to us (yet).

Due to the earth's atmosphere, smaller objects that come barreling toward us are usually burned up on their way to the ground.. When a small ­meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere, it goes from traveling through a vacuum to traveling through air. Traveling through a vacuum is effortless as there are no inertia forces acting against it, it takes no energy. Traveling through air is another story.

A meteor moving through space typically travels at speeds reaching tens of thousands of miles per hour. When the meteor hits the atmosphere, the air in front of it compresses incredibly quickly. When a gas is compressed, its temperature rises. This causes the meteor to heat up so much that it glows. The air burns the meteor until there is nothing left. Re-entry temperatures can reach as high as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
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