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Watch This Video To Find Out Why Meteors are Different Colors

Some people aren't aware they are different colors in the first place.

When meteors enter the atmosphere, the friction causes them to burn, which creates light. But they release different wavelengths of light in the same way that fireworks can be different colors.

So what makes meteors different colors? Find out in this video posted to TikTok by @astronomical_explorers.


The video explains the concept, but at a very surface level (in fact, the colors don't appear to be exactly correct). For a more in-depth explanation of this topic, visit this Ask An Astronomer page from Cornell University. There is a color graphic here as well that is more informative if you're interested in drilling into this topic some more.

More specifically, as Ask An Astronomer tells us, "The color of shooting stars, or meteors, is determined by two factors: the chemical composition of the meteoroid and the interaction of the atoms with the molecules in the atmosphere."

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The hot meteor ionizes the atoms in the atmosphere. This causes them to emit photons of different wavelengths, and the different wavelengths are determined by what elements are present in the composition of the meteor.

We encourage you to visit the Cornell page for the graphical presentation of the colors of the elements.

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