(meteorobs) Fwd Re: Halley's Comet Returns In Bits And Pieces

Forwarded without permission:
 Thought this message from mplist was of interest - and more apropros -
 on 'meteorobs'. Brian Warner is not a current subscriber, so if you
 reply, please be sure to put 'brianw_mpo@compuserve.com' manually in
 your 'Cc:' line. Clear skies!  -Lew Gramer

------- Forwarded Message

Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 20:50:31 -0400
From: Brian Warner <brianw_mpo@compuserve.com>
Subject: Re: Halley's Comet Returns In Bits And Pieces
Cc: "[unknown]" <mplist@bitnik.com>

Message text written by INTERNET:MGR@mgrfoundation.org
>How is it possible for particles so small to burn with such brilliance
>and for so long, to give up so much visual energy that we, on the
>surface of the planet, miles upon miles under a thick coating of light-
>energy absorbing atmosphere can still see them?


The answer is very succinct and famous: E = mc2

The amount of energy being released by an object, even as small as a
grain of sand, when moving at 40km/sec is tremendous. To a large degree,
what you're really seeing is the molecules in the upper atmosphere being
excited by the energy released by the particle such that the gases begin
to glow.

That's the train ("afterglow") you see. The particle, per se, may not be
visible but the results of it hitting the atmosphere are.

Brian Warner

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