Meteorites are Hot When They Reach the Earth
© Depositphotos.com/witoldkr1

Meteorites are hot when they reach the Earth.

Don’t Believe That!

The image of a smoking meteorite that just crashed into the Earth is very familiar from the movies, but very few people have ever witnessed an actual meteorite crash. If you did, you would find a lukewarm, perhaps even cold, chunk of rock.

Meteors, of course, blaze across the sky like bright fireballs, leaving behind a trail of smoke. The smoke and fire are actually created by the air in front of the meteor, which is being compressed enormously by the meteor’s speed. This does cause the surface of the meteor to heat, but the melted portions are quickly blown off. Eventually, the meteor slows below the speed of sound and the shock wave, and fire, vanish. At this point, it is still high up in the (very cold) atmosphere and takes several minutes to reach the ground.

Bonus Fact: Most meteors are the size of a grain of sand.

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