Watching the Skies: Meteor shoots above full moon


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you were looking up at just the right time last week, you may have spotted a meteor streaking overhead.

Felicia Flinsky sent us a photo from Grand Rapids of the meteor shooting across the sky above the full moon.

A meteor is debris from space that enters into Earth’s atmosphere at an extremely high rate of speed. It burns up in the atmosphere, creating a fiery streak in the sky that we often refer to as a shooting star. The debris can be comprised of pieces of a comet, an asteroid or even other planets.

We often use the terms meteor, meteorite or meteoroid interchangeably, but they all mean very different things. A meteoroid is the debris from space before it enters the earth’s atmosphere. As long as it’s still in space, we refer to it as a meteoroid.

Once the meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere, it becomes a meteor. The meteor is what we see shooting across the sky as it burns up.

If any part of the meteor survives the fiery trip through the atmosphere and makes it to the surface of the earth, it is called a meteorite. A lot of information about space and our solar system can be gained from a meteorite, which is why scientists and space enthusiasts often try to hunt them down and study them.

The full moon took place last week, coincidentally on one of the coldest nights of the season so far.

A big thanks to Christine Shlagor for braving the cold temperatures and sending us a picture of the full Wolf Moon.

The full Wolf Moon. (Courtesy: Christine Shlagor)

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