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How high up are meteors when they begin to glow?

20 Oct 2021, 10:11 UTC
How high up are meteors when they begin to glow?
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View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Kris Hazelbaker in Grangeville, Idaho, captured this photo of the zodiacal light and a meteor on October 11, 2021. Kris said: “I had seen the zodiacal light the previous morning, so I made sure my gear was set up that night for early morning action. After framing the image, I set my intervalometer and let it run as the light got brighter. After downloading the pics, I found this one that includes a meteor.” Thank you, Kris! How high up are meteors when they begin to glow? Read on.
How high up are meteors when they begin to glow?
Meteors in annual showers – such as the current Orionid meteor shower – are leftover dust particles from comets. These bits of cometary debris collide with Earth’s atmosphere and vaporize. We see this collision as a streak of light across the sky – a meteor – or, more poetically, a shooting star or falling star. How high up are meteors in Earth’s atmosphere when they become incandescent and begin to glow?
Meteors light up almost as soon as they hit Earth’s atmosphere. On average, when you see a meteor, you’re looking at a piece ...

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