Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30 is National Meteor Day. I wonder if they celebrated something similar in the Late Cretaceous.

Some quick vocabulary:
  • The meteor is the streak of light across the sky that one sees as an object burns up on entering the Earth's atmosphere; this is sometimes called a 'shooting star.' Lots of shooting stars constitute a meteor shower; Earth experiences a number of these per year (here's a handy list for meteor showers still to come in 2012);
  • The meteoroid is the object that creates the meteor trail -- if the object burns up completely in the atmosphere;
  • If some part of the object makes it to the surface, that is called a meteorite;
  • The Late Cretaceous was punctuated by a rather large meteorite. The dinosaurs did not survive... except as birds. Some of those little rat-like mammals became, well, us.

Whether that amounted to an improvement is not for this blog to determine.

NASA tracks a lot of large objects that could become meteorites. (That link will take you to a table of recent and forthcoming 'close encounters.')

Of course, these are the ones the government knows about.

One hopes that, in this instance, anyway, the government is actually well-informed.

But enjoy National Meteor Day today.

If the dinosaurs had a similar observance, they probably enjoyed theirs, too. All except the last one....

From the webcomic Chuckle-A-Duck

But, remember, we don't need to colonize outer space until we resolve all of our problems here on Earth.


Updated November 21, 2012 to include the webcomic. It just seemed to fit so well.

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