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Space Rocks
Little chunks of rock and debris in space are called meteoroids. They become meteors -- or shooting stars -- when they fall through a planet's atmosphere; leaving a bright trail as they are heated to incandescence by the friction of the atmosphere. Pieces that survive the journey and hit the ground are called meteorites.

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WHAT'S UP? Comet ISON and Things that go bump in the night
WHAT'S UP? Comet ISON and Things that go bump in the night
Once there were things in the sky that could not be predicted and were cause for great concern and fear. Now we know better.Read More...
Around the World in Four Days: NASA Tracks Chelyabinsk Meteor Plume
Around the World in Four Days: NASA Tracks Chelyabinsk Meteor Plume
Atmospheric physicist Nick Gorkavyi missed witnessing an event of the century last winter when a meteor exploded over his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia. From Greenbelt, Md., however, NASA's Gorkavyi and colleagues witnessed a never-before-seen view ...Read More...
Heliophysics Nugget: Mapping Tons of Meteoric Dust in the Sky
Heliophysics Nugget: Mapping Tons of Meteoric Dust in the Sky
On Aug.11 and 12, 2013, the annual Perseid meteor shower will peak, filling the sky with streaks of light, commonly known as shooting stars.Read More...
Perseid Fireballs
Perseid Fireballs
In astronomy, there's nothing quite like a bright meteor streaking across the glittering canopy of a moonless night sky. The unexpected flash of light adds a dash of magic to an ordinary walk under the stars.Read More...
Noctilucent Clouds, Comets, and Meteor Showers
Noctilucent Clouds, Comets, and Meteor Showers
This summer northern skywatchers may be able to see Noctilucent or "Night Shining" Clouds. Also called PMCs (Polar Mesospheric Clouds), these apparitions are a bit of a puzzle for scientists because it is not entirely clear how they form.Read More...
Noctilucent Clouds Get an Early Start
Noctilucent Clouds Get an Early Start
Every summer, something strange and wonderful happens high above the north pole. Ice crystals begin to cling to the smoky remains of meteors, forming electric-blue clouds with tendrils that ripple hypnotically against the sunset sky.Read More...
Bright Explosion on the Moon
Bright Explosion on the Moon
NASA researchers who monitor the Moon for meteoroid impacts have detected an explosion ten times brighter than anything they've seen before.Read More...
Comet ISON Meteor Shower
Comet ISON Meteor Shower
Anticipation is building as Comet ISON plunges into the inner solar system for a close encounter with the sun in November 2013. Blasted at point-blank range by solar radiation, the sungrazer will likely become one of the finest comets in many years.Read More...
What Exploded over Russia?
What Exploded over Russia?
"It was a meteor strike--the most powerful since the Tunguska event of 1908," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.Read More...
A New Meteor Shower in December?
A New Meteor Shower in December?
If you're outdoors after sunset this week, be alert for meteors. Not only is the Geminid meteor shower active as Earth passes through a stream of debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon, but also a new meteor shower could make an appearance.Read More...
How to Hunt a Space Rock
How to Hunt a Space Rock
Recently, meteorite hunters tracked down cosmic debris in order to test a "lab on a chip" destined for future spacecraft.Read More...
The Fireballs of February
The Fireballs of February
In the middle of the night on February 13th, something disturbed the animal population of rural Portal, Georgia. Cows started mooing anxiously and local dogs howled at the sky. The cause of the commotion was a rock from space.Read More...
NASA Research Shows DNA Building Blocks Can Be Made in Space
NASA Research Shows DNA Building Blocks Can Be Made in Space
NASA-funded researchers have found more evidence meteorites can carry DNA components created in space.Read More...
Meteors from Halley's Comet
Meteors from Halley's Comet
Looking for an adventure? Get up in the wee hours of the morning May 6th and head out into the country, far from the city lights. You won't be alone. The birds will be up and singing about the coming dawn, and about the eta Aquarid meteor shower.Read More...
How to See the Best Meteor Showers
How to See the Best Meteor Showers
Whether you're watching from a downtown area or the dark countryside, here are some tips to help you enjoy these celestial shows of shooting stars.Read More...
Venus Disappears During Meteor Shower
Venus Disappears During Meteor Shower
A meteor shower. A crescent Moon. A disappearing planet. These three things will be on display April 22nd when the Moon occults Venus during the annual Lyrid meteor shower.Read More...
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Previous
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WHAT'S UP? Comet ISON and Things that go bump in the night
WHAT'S UP? Comet ISON and Things that go bump in the night
Once there were things in the sky that could not be predicted and were cause for great concern and fear. Now we know better.Read More...
Around the World in Four Days: NASA Tracks Chelyabinsk Meteor Plume
Around the World in Four Days: NASA Tracks Chelyabinsk Meteor Plume
Atmospheric physicist Nick Gorkavyi missed witnessing an event of the century last winter when a meteor exploded over his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia. From Greenbelt, Md., however, NASA's Gorkavyi and colleagues witnessed a never-before-seen view ...Read More...
Heliophysics Nugget: Mapping Tons of Meteoric Dust in the Sky
Heliophysics Nugget: Mapping Tons of Meteoric Dust in the Sky
On Aug.11 and 12, 2013, the annual Perseid meteor shower will peak, filling the sky with streaks of light, commonly known as shooting stars.Read More...
Perseid Fireballs
Perseid Fireballs
In astronomy, there's nothing quite like a bright meteor streaking across the glittering canopy of a moonless night sky. The unexpected flash of light adds a dash of magic to an ordinary walk under the stars.Read More...
Noctilucent Clouds, Comets, and Meteor Showers
Noctilucent Clouds, Comets, and Meteor Showers
This summer northern skywatchers may be able to see Noctilucent or "Night Shining" Clouds. Also called PMCs (Polar Mesospheric Clouds), these apparitions are a bit of a puzzle for scientists because it is not entirely clear how they form.Read More...
Noctilucent Clouds Get an Early Start
Noctilucent Clouds Get an Early Start
Every summer, something strange and wonderful happens high above the north pole. Ice crystals begin to cling to the smoky remains of meteors, forming electric-blue clouds with tendrils that ripple hypnotically against the sunset sky.Read More...
Bright Explosion on the Moon
Bright Explosion on the Moon
NASA researchers who monitor the Moon for meteoroid impacts have detected an explosion ten times brighter than anything they've seen before.Read More...
Comet ISON Meteor Shower
Comet ISON Meteor Shower
Anticipation is building as Comet ISON plunges into the inner solar system for a close encounter with the sun in November 2013. Blasted at point-blank range by solar radiation, the sungrazer will likely become one of the finest comets in many years.Read More...
What Exploded over Russia?
What Exploded over Russia?
"It was a meteor strike--the most powerful since the Tunguska event of 1908," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office.Read More...
A New Meteor Shower in December?
A New Meteor Shower in December?
If you're outdoors after sunset this week, be alert for meteors. Not only is the Geminid meteor shower active as Earth passes through a stream of debris from "rock comet" 3200 Phaethon, but also a new meteor shower could make an appearance.Read More...
How to Hunt a Space Rock
How to Hunt a Space Rock
Recently, meteorite hunters tracked down cosmic debris in order to test a "lab on a chip" destined for future spacecraft.Read More...
The Fireballs of February
The Fireballs of February
In the middle of the night on February 13th, something disturbed the animal population of rural Portal, Georgia. Cows started mooing anxiously and local dogs howled at the sky. The cause of the commotion was a rock from space.Read More...
NASA Research Shows DNA Building Blocks Can Be Made in Space
NASA Research Shows DNA Building Blocks Can Be Made in Space
NASA-funded researchers have found more evidence meteorites can carry DNA components created in space.Read More...
Meteors from Halley's Comet
Meteors from Halley's Comet
Looking for an adventure? Get up in the wee hours of the morning May 6th and head out into the country, far from the city lights. You won't be alone. The birds will be up and singing about the coming dawn, and about the eta Aquarid meteor shower.Read More...
How to See the Best Meteor Showers
How to See the Best Meteor Showers
Whether you're watching from a downtown area or the dark countryside, here are some tips to help you enjoy these celestial shows of shooting stars.Read More...
Venus Disappears During Meteor Shower
Venus Disappears During Meteor Shower
A meteor shower. A crescent Moon. A disappearing planet. These three things will be on display April 22nd when the Moon occults Venus during the annual Lyrid meteor shower.Read More...
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