While running terrible late for work, I was heading south on Beaumont off of Mt. Hope when I saw a 'shooting star' at 5:44 AM, which I mentioned on the air. Joey Pants was quick to flaunt his knowledge of astronomy and pointed out, indelicately, that I didn't see a 'star' explode, I saw a meteor.
Upon consulting our WMMQ Expert Astronomer/Photographer Mike Skywatcher (not his real name), I received this scholarly response:
"HiYa Deb, OK...A shooting star is really a small piece of rock or dust that hits Earth's atmosphere from space. It moves so fast that it heats up and glows as it moves through the atmosphere. Shooting stars are actually what astronomers call meteors. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere before they reach the ground. So “technically” meteor…..
Although I usually try to (hopefully not annoyingly so) correct folks on all things astronomical, I actually like the phrase shooting star…it captures the wonder…..we need more “wonder”….
Don’t let Joey give you any shit about this……hahaha…..
Sent from the edge of known space..." (his secret
laboratory observatory west of Lansing)