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Neon Signs and Shooting Stars

February 17, 2013

Image Credit: Babak Tafreshi

Phil Plait, aka, "The Bad Astronomer," is an excellent blogger. One of the many reasons we think Phil is great is that he might like making connections as much as we do. Take this recent post on "shooting stars." (We put those words in quotes because the term is incredibly misleading – there are no stars involved at all.) In this post, he discusses the trails left behind the small pieces of debris that enter the Earth's atmosphere and create these events. He notes that although it might seem like shooting stars are burning up, they actually glow because of gases being ionized and then electrons recombining with the atoms. This process causes them to emit like, just like a neon sign. This is an excellent Here, There, and Everywhere comparison if we've ever heard one.


-Megan Watzke, Chandra/HTE

"Here, There, & Everywhere" (HTE) is supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant NNX11AH28G issued through the Science Mission Directorate.

HTE was developed by the Chandra X-ray Center, at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in Cambridge, MA.

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