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Excitement in the sky as space rocks blast through atmopshere

10 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Wednesday, April 27 2022 Apr 27, 2022 April 27, 2022 5:29 PM April 27, 2022 in Weather
Source: NASA

Many across southeast Louisiana have been reporting "fireballs" or "shooting stars" in the skies. There are two active meteor showers right now that are the likely cause.

The Lyrids is a meteor shower active through April 29th. While these meteors lack persistent trains, they can produce fireballs. The best viewing time is typically around dawn, in the northern hemisphere. 

The eta Aquaridis is a meteor shower active through May 27th. About 10-30 per hour can be seen. The best viewing time is around dawn, in the northern hemisphere, especially near the equator.

According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), "Meteoroids are objects in space that range in size from dust grains to small asteroids. When meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and burn up, the fireballs or shooting stars are called meteors. When a meteoroid survives a trip through the atmosphere and hits the ground, it’s called a meteorite."

It is estimated that about 48.5 tons of meteoritic material falls on the Earth each day. Almost all of it is vaporized in Earth's atmosphere. As this process occurs, there is a bright trail left behind, often visible at the surface.

Meteor showers occur annually as the Earth passes through debris trails left by comets. Meteor showers are usually named after a star or constellation close to where those meteors appear in the sky.

Most meteoroids will break apart in Earth’s atmosphere because traveling at tens of thousands of miles per hour causes them to disintegrate. Most of the time, less than 5 percent of the original space rock will make it down to the ground. Any pieces are very difficult to find, ranging in size from that of a pebble to a fist and they look very much like terrestrial rocks.

If you catch one of these "fireballs" or "shooting stars" send a picture to weather@wbrz.com or tweet @WBRZweather. You can also submit directly to us through the free WBRZ WX App on your Apple or Android device.

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