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Shooting Stars: What exactly are they?

The Geminid Meteor shower will bring a fantastic light show to the First Coast at the beginning of the week.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Geminid Meteor shower will peak across the First Coast on December 13 and 14. Between those two nights, you could see 120 meteors per hour.

Here are a few fast facts about meteors!

Technically speaking meteors are pieces of space debris, usually a chunk of an asteroid or comet, that enters the earth’s atmosphere. Once in the atmosphere, the meteor encounters so much friction with our air, that it ignites and will burn up as it races across the sky. That fireball is what you are seeing as the ‘shooting star’. If the space debris doesn’t completely burn up as it passes through the atmosphere and it hits the ground, then it will be classified as a meteorite.

Next time you see a meteor, look closely at its color. You can tell which elements or minerals are inside the meteor depending on the color it shows in the sky. Iron burns yellow, silicates flare red, and copper shines as green.

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