How to Make a Model of a Meteor

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Capture a moment in time with a meteor model.
Capture a moment in time with a meteor model. (Image: Chad Baker/Photodisc/Getty Images)

When you wish upon a star, you're actually wishing upon a meteor. These brief, bright streaks of light in the sky occur when meteoroids, or particles of space debris, burn up as they enter Earth's atmosphere. Most meteors are typically only visible momentarily, but the larger the meteor, the longer it stays visible in the sky. Similarly, meteors are more easily viewed in the night sky, but large meteors may sometimes be seen during the day. Create a model of a meteor to capture the essence of the briefly-occurring wonder, and to better understand its physical attributes.

Things You'll Need

  • Empty shoebox
  • Black tempera or acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • White Styrofoam ball, small to medium in diameter
  • White pipe cleaners
  • Clear fishing line
  • Hole punch or sharp object

Remove the lid from your empty shoebox. Position it horizontally with the bottom of the shoebox flat on the work surface and the opening facing up. Paint the entire inside of the box with a coat of black tempera or acrylic paint. Allow it to dry for 2 to 4 hours.

Insert several white pipe cleaners into one end of your Styrofoam ball to create a tail. Bend some of the pipe cleaners outward to form a "V" shape with the narrow end of the "V" closest to the Styrofoam ball.

Tie clear fishing line to the end of the pipe cleaners and to the Styrofoam ball.

Position your dried, painted box horizontally with one of the long sides resting flat on the work surface and the opening of the box facing toward you. Poke two holes on both sides of the top, long side of the box, facing the ceiling. Loop each free end of fishing line from your meteor through the holes and tie secure knots; this will allow the meteor to hang horizontally on its own inside the box.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a white crayon, chalk or white paint to speckle the dried black portions of the box with the illusion of stars.

References

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