Meteorite1 - Meteorites The quick flashes of light in the...

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Meteorites The quick flashes of light in the sky most people call ``shooting stars'' are meteors ---pieces of the rock glowing from friction with the atmosphere as they plunge toward the surface at speeds around 20 to 40 kilometers/second. Most of the meteors you see are about the size of a grain of sand and burn up at altitudes above 50 kilometers (in the mesosphere ). More meteors are seen after midnight because your local part of the Earth is facing the direction of its orbital motion around the Sun. Meteoroids moving at any speed can hit the atmosphere. Before midnight your local part of the Earth is facing away from the direction of orbital motion, so only the fastest moving meteoroids can catch up to the Earth and hit the atmosphere. The same sort of effect explains why an automobile's front windshield will get plastered with insects while the rear windshield stays clean. If the little piece of rock makes it to the surface without burning up, it is called a meteorite . There are three basic types of meteorites.
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Meteorite1 - Meteorites The quick flashes of light in the...

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