Ep 76: How We Found Out Meteors Are Actually Little Rocks From Space Burning Up In The Atmosphere

It sounds crazy when you say it out loud.  Meteors are rocks from SPACE burning up in the atmosphere.  How did people ever figure THAT out?  Today, I’m talking about the history of meteor showers and discussing the fascinating journey of how people finally figured out what meteors were.   From those initial moments of terror of ancient cultures when they saw stars rain down from the sky like snow to the advent of the camera – what did people think meteors were throughout history?  And how did they finally figure out that they were from space?  I’ll also talk about the history-changing meteor shower of 1833 – during which 200,000 meteors fell during the course of the 9 hour storm.  That got everyone’s attention – from Joseph Smith to Abraham Lincoln to Harriet Tubman.

I did a lot of fascinating research on the history of meteor showers to put this episode together, so check out the references if you want to learn more!

Patrons of the podcast can also check out the beautiful gallery of meteors as well as learn about the next meteor shower coming up.


The Early Years of Meteor Observations in the USA

The Origin and Evolution of Meteor Showers and Meteoroid Streams 

How Ancient Cultures Explained Comets and Meteors

The Curious History of the Lyrid Meteor Shower

Wikipedia – Meteor Shower

Wikipedia – 1763 Great Meteor

Wikipedia – Meteoroid 

Wikipedia – Leonids 

The First Meteor Shower on Record

The Greatest Meteor Show of All Time

Meteor Showers and Shooting Stars: Formation, Facts, and Discovery

Leonid MAC

Some of the background music you heard were clips from Ethereal Space by snowflake, Between Worlds by Aussens@iter, Nanyang Journey By Ivan Chew, B34 by zikweb, and Dark Woods II by Ivan Chew (all licensed under CC by 3.0.).

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