Make A Wish

Popular Science looks at the science of shooting stars

In the first video we see footage of a fireball generated by a large meteor recently sighted careening over the skies of western Canada. Impressively bright! Since we get only a brief glimpse of the action we've also included another amazing video, below, of a meteor streaking over Guadalajara. It's a common misconception that the heat generated from meteors impacting the atmosphere is due to friction. In fact it's due to a thermodynamic process known as adiabatic compression. Let's see how this works.