Category Archives: Phenomena
Space contains tons of dust. When dust particles approach Earth, they can be captured by gravity and enter the atmosphere at very high speeds.
Particles with diameters larger than about 2 millimeters undergo very rapid heating through collisions in our atmosphere. As they heat up, they can produce a short-lived trail of light known as “shooting star.” Most dust particles entering the atmosphere are estimated to be much smaller than this and don’t provide a visible trail. Continue reading
It does precipitate on other planets and moons in our solar system.
On Earth, when particles fall from clouds and reach the surface as precipitation, they do so primarily as rain, snow, freezing rain or sleet. Continue reading
Until this recent frigid arctic air outbreak, the Great Lakes were experiencing one of the mildest winters on record National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitors and reports on the ice coverage of the Great Lakes. NOAA reports total coverage … Continue reading
This question was considered by astronomer Johannes Kepler about 400 years ago.
Kepler published an article on the topic in 1611. He hypothesized that the crystals were made of subunits that combined to form the symmetrical shapes of ice crystals. Continue reading
Both La Niña and El Niño refer to big changes in the sea-surface temperature across much of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The water temperatures off the west coast of South America are typically 60 to 70 degrees. During a La Niña, these waters get as much as 7 degrees colder. These La Niña conditions recur every few years and last nine to 12 months, though some events have lingered for as many as two years. This cooling results from a strengthening of the winds over the tropical Pacific and its interaction with the underlying ocean waters. Continue reading