The Angry UFOlogist

The Wailing Cry of A Meteor Shower

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Added by The Angry UFOlogist in Physics Science


Ever wonder what a meteor shower sounds like as it streaks across the Earth's atmosphere at hypersonic, air-ionizing speeds? Well now you do!

Each time a meteor crosses the atmosphere, it leaves behind a short trail of ionised particles (plasma). This trail reflects high-frequency radio signals from stations broadcasting all around the world for just a few seconds. The motion of the meteor trail due to the changes in upper atmosphere winds changes the frequency of the reflected signal (due to the Doppler effect) so that it is of a higher frequency when the trail is moving toward the radio detector station and at a lower frequency when moving away from the radio detector station. What you 'hear' then is the trail as it is blown around by the winds before it is eventually dispersed.

The Leonid Meteor Shower, from which these signals were taken, is annually active in the month of November each year and usually peaks around November 16 or 17. The shower is called Leonids because its radiant or the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from, lies in the constellation Leo.

The meteors do not come from the constellation itself however and instead occur when the Earth passes through the debris left by the comet Tempel-Tuttle. From our perspective the Earth's orbit passes through the debris in the direction of Leo. The comet takes around 33 years to make one orbit around the Sun.

People can view about 20 meteors an hour at the peak of the Leonids meteor shower.

Tags: MuonRay, Science

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