Anniversary of the Great Meteor of 1873

On August 18, 1783 a flaming meteor was observed in the British Isles. At the time, the phenomena was not well understood and it started a great stir in learned society.

Meteoroids are significantly smaller than asteroids (See June 30, Asteroid Day) and range in size from small grains to one-meter-wide objects. Most are fragments from comets or asteroids, whereas others are ejected from bodies such as the Moon or Mars.

When a meteoroid, comet, or asteroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, typically in excess of 20 km/s (72,000 km/h; 45,000 mph), aerodynamic heating produces a streak of light, both from the glowing object and the trail of glowing particles that it leaves in its wake. This phenomenon is called a meteor or “shooting star”.

If an object withstands the passage through the atmosphere and impacts the ground, it is called a meteorite. An estimated 15,000 tonnes of meteoroids, micrometeoroids and different forms of space dust enter Earth’s atmosphere each year.

Summarized from Wikipedia.


This is The Meteor of August 18, 1783, as seen from the East Angle of the North Terrace, Windsor Castle, a watercolor by Paul Standby (1731-1809.)


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