Fireballs and strange lights in the sky have been sighted from California to Pennsylvania to Maine?and also in Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. Can some of these be comets, meteors or asteroids?and what's the difference between them? Asteroids and meteors are space rocks, while a comet is mostly made of ice.
Tony Phillips writes in the NASA that these sightings have became so common during the end of October and beginning of November that astronomers are calling them "Halloween fireballs." Astronomer David Asher says, "People are probably seeing the Taurid meteor shower." Every year around this time, the Earth passes through a cloud of space dust. Every grain of this dust hits our atmosphere at around 65,000 mph, making a bright flash of light. In most years the shower produces only around five dim meteors per hour, but this year, for some reason, they?re much brighter than usual.
What makes them this way? According to Asher, the dust particles bigger than usual, more like pebbles than grains of dust. This dust cloud is all that?s left of a comet called Encke, which was discovered in 1786, which broke apart 5,000 years ago. When this happened, the night sky would have resembled a fireworks display. By blocking the sun's light, the debris could have led to the climate cooling that we know, from measuring tree rings, took place from 2354 to 2345 BC.
Astronomer Benny Peiser studies history and religions for evidence of this sort of occurance. He says, "I would not be surprised if the notorious rituals of human sacrifice were a direct consequence of attempts to overcome this trauma. Interestingly, the same deadly cults were also established in the Near East during the Bronze Age."
Planetary bodies have influenced modern religions as well. A large meteorite is in the center of the mysterious mosque in Mecca, which only Muslims can enter. In fact, they're directed to make a pilgrimage there once a year.
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