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Riding on a Meteor

* Meteor is the stripe just left from centre of image

As you may be aware it was recently the Perseid Meteor Shower. We headed out to try and get a picture of a shooting star. It was a cold night but such a fun experience. We saw around 20 meteors in total - and had a good look at Mars, Saturn and Jupiter through the telescope.

In the picture above you can see a meteor just off centre to the left of the image. This really got us thinking - what would it be like to ride along on a meteor?

The Perseids are typically no larger than a grain of sand however they collide with the Earths atmosphere at an astonishing 58km per second. So if there was any way of catching a ride on a meteor, how quick could we get around to places?

Well to get from Lands End to John O' Groats, the fastest time set in a Aeroplane was 46 minutes and 44 seconds. Thats covering a distance of about 970 kilometres! If we were riding the shooting star, it would take us about 17 seconds.

Image Source: Google Maps

In 1996, Concorde successfully flew from New York to London in a record breaking time. It took 2hrs 52m 59s as a commercial flight (carrying passengers) to make the 3,750 mile trip. Interestingly the passengers onboard were not actually aware of the record attempt but we notified by staff upon landing!

Now if we hop back to our thought exercise with a meteor, that journey would take 1 minute 44 seconds.

Image : Eduard Marmet

When we are out stargazing, we often think of strange things like this. How long it will take to get somewhere, how far in the past we are looking when looking at an object - what was happening on Earth at the time light left that distant star?! When you consider the vastness of space, it certainly reminds us how special and unique our big rock is, the one we call Earth and home.


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