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Artificial shooting stars

Once in a while a person can get lucky and catch shooting stars make a spectacular sight in the night sky. Legend has it that wishing upon a shooting star makes the wish come true.

A “shooting star” or a “falling star” has nothing at all to do with a star. These amazing streaks of light you can sometimes see in the night sky are caused by tiny bits of dust and rock called meteoroids falling into the Earth’s atmosphere and burning up. The short-lived trail of light the burning meteoroid produces is called a meteor. Meteors are commonly called shooting stars or falling stars.

Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through the trail of debris left by a comet as it orbits the Sun. On any night, there are several small meteors which shoot across the sky. However, during a meteor shower, tens to hundreds of meteors can be seen each hour. Many of these meteor showers can be predicted and occur at the same time each year.

A Japanese space start-up, ALE, is getting ready to deploy a satellite into orbit, which will enable the company to effectively mimic a meteor shower.

The company has been developing a technology since 2011 to create artificial shooting stars. The satellite will carry between 500 to 1,000 man-made meteoroids measuring only 2cm in diameter.

These artificial shooting stars will be available in different colors and travel slower and longer across the sky than a natural shooting star for people to enjoy the spectacle. The company can provide shooting stars in all parts of the world. They plan to launch its first meteor show next year. The meteors will be visible to the ground in a 200 km radius so all of Tokyo will be able to enjoy the company’s first ever show. (Floro Mercene)