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Meteor Day

Updated on December 22, 2015

Meteor Day Is June 30th

June 30th is Meteor Day, sometimes called Meteor Watch Day. This date was chosen in memory of the Tunguska Event, the largest meteor impact in recorded history. You may have heard a meteor called by other names including:

Meteorite FireballTektitePerseidsLeonids

The Tunguska Event

You can see how the Tunguska event changed this once green and beautiful forest.  Photo Credit:  Wiki
You can see how the Tunguska event changed this once green and beautiful forest. Photo Credit: Wiki

What was the Tunguska Event?

At 7:14 a.m. local time on June 30, 1908, a meteor estimated to be 330 ft (100 m) exploded just above Siberia's Podkamennaya Tunguska River. Thanks to the chaos of the Russian Revolution and World War I, scientists didn't start studying the impact area until the 1920s. A series of expeditions shocked the world with their findings:

- The explosion coupled with the debris impacting the Earth is estimated to have been 1,000 times as powerful as the Little Boy atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in WWII.

- It knocked over 80 million trees over an area of approximately 770 square miles (2,000 square km.) Fortunately, the area was very sparsely populated at the time with only two known deaths.

- Locals were reluctant to give first-hand accounts at first, as they though devastation was caused when the forest god Ogdy had gone into a fit of rage.

- One survivor reported sitting on his porch when the heat wave caused his shirt to catch fire. His home was 40 miles (65 km) away from the impact.

The discovery of the immense devastation in the area prompted amateurs and oranizations alike to start tracking terrestrial objects in the hope of limiting damage from possible impacts.

Meteor Movies And DVDs

There have been many movies made about meteors heading towards Earth and I've listed a few of them here. One of my favorites is Armaggeddon starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, and Billy Bob Thornton. The basic story is about some deep ocean oil drillers who save our planet from a huge meteor. How do oil drillers end up in space? Well, someone at NASA thinks the only way to avert the meteor is to bury a nuclear device in the asteroid, cause it to split into two pieces and push each piece away from the Earth. There's a love story that involves Ben and Liv, and Bruce Willis is her Dad and his friend. This movie was a big hit in 1998, and I am sure you will enjoy it today.

Deadly Comets and Meteors
Deadly Comets and Meteors

Make a comet, yes, this DVD will show you how. This is from the History Channel and you will see comets and meteors. Find out if comets and meteors had a part in what caused the dinosaurs to become extinct and learn some theories that the dust from them can carry alien viruses to our planet.

 

Facts About Meteors

This is a picture of a crater formed when a meteor crashed into the Earth some 50,000 years ago.  The crater is located near Winslow, Arizona.  This meteor crater picture is in the public domain.
This is a picture of a crater formed when a meteor crashed into the Earth some 50,000 years ago. The crater is located near Winslow, Arizona. This meteor crater picture is in the public domain.

What do you know about meteors? Let's find out some meteor facts.

- 15,000 tons of meteors enter Earth's atmosphere each day.

- The average meteor is about the size of a pebble.

Streak Of Light In The Sky

How Fast Can A Meteoriod Travel?

- Greek astronomer Ptolemy thought that the gods occasionally liked to take a peek at the humans, and would occasionally drop a star in the process. Since this meant that the gods were paying attention, it was a good time to make a wish.

- A meteor actually refers to the streak of light seen in the sky. When in the atmosphere, the rock itself is called a "meteoroid," while one that reaches the ground is called a "meteorite." Most meteoroids burn up in the atmosphere before they can reach Earth's surface.

- Meteoroids travel at speeds between 25,000 and 160,000 mph (39,500 to 260,000 kph) when they reach Earth's atmosphere, well above the speed of sound. Since air can't move away faster than the speed of sound, it compresses in front of the meteoroid, creating massive amounts of heat. Surface temperatures can reach 3,000 degrees F (1,600 degrees C.)

Meteoriods Streaking Across The Sky

How Small Are Meteoroids? - How Big Are Meteoroids?

This picture of a Leonid Meteor from a meteor shower in 2009 shows not only the meteor, but the afterglow and the wake.   Photo Credit:  Wiki  and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
This picture of a Leonid Meteor from a meteor shower in 2009 shows not only the meteor, but the afterglow and the wake. Photo Credit: Wiki and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

- Smaller meteoroids are more likely to reach the Earth's surface because they compress less air, but there still needs to be enough material to melt off during entry. To become a meteorite, the meteoroid would have to be at least the size of a marble before entering the atmosphere. Visible meteorites usually started from a meteoroid at least the size of a basketball.

- Meteoroids can be as large as 330 ft. (100 meters) in diameter. Anything bigger is classified as an asteroid.

What are Meteors, Meteoroids, and Meteorites?

Zeus And Meteorites - Thunderbolt Iron

Zeus' forged metal bolts - were they forged by the metal of a meteorite?  Photo Credit:  Wiki   The picture is in the Public Domain.
Zeus' forged metal bolts - were they forged by the metal of a meteorite? Photo Credit: Wiki The picture is in the Public Domain.

- Meteorites are a source for extremely pure iron ore called "thunderbolt iron," named after Zeus's forged lightning bolts. This metal from the heavens has a long history in warfare for its use in legendary weapons. Until modern advances in metallurgy, its quality could not be surpassed using traditional ore.

Tunguska Explosion 30 July 1908

Meteor Movies

Meteors have always been a source of mystery and fear for us, so it's only natural that there would be many movies made on this theme. Why are they a source of mystery and fear? Well, they are a mystery since most of us don't know all that much about meteors, and they are a source of fear because they fly through the universe and could hit our planet, our moon or our sun. Can you imagine what that would be like? Some of the movies I've listed on this lens will give us an idea!

Deep Impact (Special Collector's Edition)
Deep Impact (Special Collector's Edition)

Robert Duvall, Téa Leoni, Elijah Wood, Morgan Freeman, and more try to save themselves and the world from a meteor collision.

 

Meteor Toys And Books

Play and learn with meteor toys, and have some fun while you are at it! Show your kids how much fun learning can be with the ideas shown here that will actually teach them something. There are a couple of toys here that are just for fun, but that is a good thing too.

Meteorite Impact Kit- Intermediate Set
Meteorite Impact Kit- Intermediate Set

Here's the set you get when you actually want to learn about a meteor and the impact it can cause.

 

Deadly Comets And Meteors - The History Channel

Meteor Stuff on eBay

Can you imagine owning your very own meteor? Take a look at what you can find on eBay, the online auction where you can find just about anything! You might find pieces from some well-known meteors like the Chelyabinsk Meteorite, the Sikhote Alin, Canyon Diablo Meteor Crater Iron Meteorite, or maybe a part of the most beautiful meteorite ever, the Argentinian Pallasite.


Have you ever seen a meteor? Tell us about it ...

Happy Meteor Day!

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