Re: (meteorobs) Fwd: How fast do Meteors go?

  • Subject: Re: (meteorobs) Fwd: How fast do Meteors go?
  • From: Stephen Kaplan
  • Date: Mon, 7 May 2001 16:06:51 -0400
You asked an excellent question.  The answer is not all meteors travel at
the same speed.  The slowest travel at 25,000 miles per hour (m.p.h.) and
the fastest at 160,000 m.p.h.  It will take a fast meteor about 90 minutes
to travel the distance from the moon to the Earth.
To give you an idea of just how fast meteors travel, it is helpful to look
at how fast other things travel.  When you are walking at a normal pace,
that speed is about 3 or 4 miles per hour.  When running, it's twice as
fast, 6 to 8 m.p.h.  The fastest humans run almost 30 m.p.h. in the 100
meter dash.  Cars, trucks, buses, and trains normally travel around 60
m.p.h. on the highway and rails.  One of the fastest runners on Earth, the
cheetah, can reach speeds of 70 m.p.h.  Some birds can dive after prey at
almost 200 m.p.h.  Jet liners fly at 500 to 600 m.p.h.  And the fastest
military jets travel around 2,000 m.p.h.  That's the fastest man-made thing
that we can see on our planet or in Earth's atmosphere, that I can think of
right now.  However, the king of speed is light, which travels 70 times
faster than the fastest meteors - 11,160,000 m.p.h., which is 186,000 miles
per second.  If you turn on a powerful light on the moon, it will take just
one and a half seconds to be seen on Earth.
----- Original Message -----
From: Lew Gramer <dedalus@latrade.com>
To: John <CCKC111@aol.com>
Cc: Meteor Observing Mailing List <meteorobs@jovian.com>
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2001 1:25 PM
Subject: (meteorobs) Fwd: How fast do Meteors go?

> John <CCKC111@aol.com> writes:
> >Dear Sirs,
> >
> >I have a report to do in school.  I am 9 years old.  I need to know how
> >fast meteors travel.  Do you know the answer?
> >
> >Thanks, John
> John, what a great question! Would you do me a favor? Print out this
> from me, and take the printout in to your school teacher? Thanks!
> I have forwarded your question to our whole mailing list of 550 people
> the world, so you can tell your teacher that you researched the answer to
> question all over the globe. (And I also thought some of our members might
> inspired by your question, John!)
> THE ANSWER to your question is that meteor pieces are going AT LEAST
> miles per hour when they hit our atmosphere. That is faster than the Space
> Shuttle ever goes! And if we hit one of these meteor pieces - we call them
> "meteoroids" - it may even be going as fast as 160,000 m.p.h.! That is
> faster than anything people have ever built.
> The really neat part is, though, that even if you could take a meteor
> and hold it so it was "standing still" in space, it would still smack into
> Earth's atmosphere at 80,000 m.p.h.! Why?? Because the Earth is moving at
> about that speed around the Sun every day. :-)
> Take care, and thank you for the question,
> Lew Gramer <owner-meteorobs@jovian.com>