How fast do shooting stars travel?



  1. 0 Votes

    This depends on which direction it is going.  A shooting star is a meteor, or ice-covered rock that burns up upon hitting our atmosphere and appears as the streak we can see in the sky at night.  The Earth is revolving aroung the sun at almost 19 miles a second.  So if a meteor is coming from “in front” of the planet, it will seem to be faster.  The fastest meteors are traveling at 26 miles per second (mps) but add that to the Earth’s forward velocity and the meteor hits at 45 mps.  A meteor coming from “behind” us though will appear much slower.

  2. 0 Votes

    What a cool question! It seems the answer is, surprisingly, “it depends”. Apparently not all shooting stars, or meteors, travel at the same speed. The range of speeds seems to be 25,000 miles per hour on the slower side of the spectrum, speeding up to 160,000 miles per hour on the faster side. These speeds are for when the meteors first enter the Earth’s atmosphere – as they travel through the atmosphere, and they lose mass along the way, they slow down. Finally, they reach their terminal velocity of between 200 and 400 miles per hour.

    This is assuming the meteor isn’t huge – meteors weighing 1000 tons retain 70% of the cosmic velocity, and meteors weighing over 100,000 tons don’t slow down at all. Meteors that large are appropriately dubbed “planet killers”. Luckily for us though, they’re quite rare!

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