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CosmosUp | August 20, 2019

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Top 5 Absurd Space Myths

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Friction Heat


The Myth: Meteors are heated by friction when entering the atmosphere
 
When a meteoroid enters the atmosphere of the earth (becoming a meteor), it is actually the speed compressing the air in front of the object that causes it to heat up.
It is the pressure on the air that generates a heat intense enough to make the rock so hot that is glows brilliantly for our viewing pleasure (if we are lucky enough to be looking in the sky at the right time).
We should also dispel the myth about meteors being hot when they hit the earth – becoming meteorites. Meteorites are almost always cold when they hit – and in fact they are often found covered in frost.
This is because they are so cold from their journey through space that the entry heat is not sufficient to do more than burn off the outer layers.

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