In What Atmospheres Do Meteors & Falling Stars Burn?

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If we look at all the planets, any planet with a substantial atmosphere or even with a weak atmosphere is going to cause incoming objects to burn and this has to do with drag and the friction in the atmosphere. Find out about which atmospheres meteors and falling stars burn in with help from an experienced education professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: About Astrophysics & Outer Space
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Hi, my name is Eylene Pirez, and I'm an astrophysicist and this is in what atmosphere do meteors and falling stars burn. So if we look at all the planets, any planet with a substantial atmosphere or even with a weak atmosphere is going to cause incoming objects to burn and this has to do with drag and the friction in the atmosphere. Now here on Earth, I'm going to focus on where in the atmosphere this actually happens. Let's say we have the surface of Earth and about 100 kilometers above surface we have something called the Karman line and this is the line where drag and the aerodynamic heating becomes really significant so any object entering the atmosphere, once it passes the Karman line, is definitely burning. So in our atmosphere, the burning happens as soon as they enter the Karman Line and what's happening to the meteor or the falling star, whatever you prefer to call it is that it is being resisted by the air and it's causing friction and it's crushing and crushing the rock creating it to like vaporize. So if the rock is still, it will vaporize before hitting the ground and if it's big, it will get a lot smaller by the time it hits the ground. My name is Eylene Pirez, and I'm an astrophysicist and this is in what atmospheres do meteors burn.

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