What Layer Do Meteors Burn Up In?

Meteors burn when they reach the mesosphere. This is the upper layer of the earth’s atmosphere, and it extends from 31 to 53 miles above our planet. This layer contains gases thick enough to slow and burn a passing meteor.

What is a meteor?

Meteors are bits of an asteroid that have entered Earth’s atmosphere. When broken bits of an asteroid don’t enter the atmosphere, they are called meteoroids. And finally, if those pieces of meteor land on Earth’s surface, they’re then referred to as meteorites.

When meteors burn up and vaporize, they can leave a streak of bright light that can be seen by people on the ground or in airplanes. This is what we commonly refer to as a “shooting star.”

What is an asteroid?

Asteroids are small rocky bodies that orbit around the Sun. They are generally smaller than planets but larger than meteoroids. Most asteroids can be found in the asteroid belt, which is located between the inner and outer planets.

What are the layers of the Atmosphere?

There are five distinct layers in the Earth’s atmosphere:

The troposphere

The troposphere, or the lowest atmosphere, is where nearly all our weather happens. It begins from the surface of the earth to 12 miles above the earth’s surface.

The stratosphere

The stratosphere is the second-highest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. It extends from 4 to 31 miles above our planet and contains a region called the ozone layer, which shields life from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

The mesosphere

The mesosphere is the third-highest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. It extends from 31 to 53 miles above our planet and contains very little water vapor or other gases.

The thermosphere

The thermosphere is the fourth-highest layer of the Earth’s atmosphere. It extends from 53 to 375 miles above our planet and is where most space vehicles orbit the Earth. It is also where the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis are seen.

The exosphere.

The exosphere is the outermost layer of Earth’s atmosphere, and it extends from the top of the thermosphere to 6,200 miles above our planet. This layer contains sparse gases with very low densities, and it is mostly empty space.

Conclusion

Meteors fall through all of these layers as they enter Earth’s atmosphere. However, it is in the mesosphere that meteors burn up, creating a brilliant display of light known as shooting stars or falling stars.