Meteors and Meteor Showers

  • Francis Reddy
Part of the Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series book series (PATRICKMOORE)


Now and then, we’re dramatically reminded that our planet doesn’t orbit the Sun all by itself. As evening twilight deepened at the tail end of rush hour on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010, scores of people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia glimpsed a brilliant fiery object streaking across the sky. It lasted only seconds, but a smoke trail marked its passage for many minutes, gradually turning from linear to serpentine as high-level winds sheared it. At the time, physician Frank Ciampi was finishing up paperwork at his family practice in Lorton, VA, before heading home. Moments after commuters saw the streaking object, he heard a crash in another room that was so loud he thought a bookcase had toppled over. When he investigated, he found bits of wood, plaster and insulation scattered outside one of the examining rooms. There was more debris inside and an obvious hole in the ceiling – plus fragments that together formed a mango-sized chunk of rock. After realizing that the rock might be a meteorite, Ciampi alerted the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., which collected the mysterious visitor and confirmed that it was indeed a rock from space.


Meteor Shower Parent Comet Meteor Sound Bright Meteor Evening Twilight 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francis Reddy
    • 1
  1. 1.Syneren Technologies Corp.LanhamUSA

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