Meteorites, Sir Francis Drake and submarines
What's the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?
I asked this question on arriving at my MOJ class. I had seen a bright light falling through the sky (it wasn't 8am yet and so it was still dark). It was too big and too close to be a shooting star. It must have been a meteor. Or maybe a meteorite.
José, the boffin in our class, gave an explanation; but I did a little research myself.
I found this question:
What is the difference between a meteor, a meteoroid, a meteorite, an asteroid and a comet?
Most of us probably have seen meteors or shooting stars. A meteor is the flash of light that we see in the night sky when a small chunk of interplanetary debris burns up as it passes through our atmosphere. "Meteor" refers to the flash of light caused by the debris, not the debris itself.
The debris is called a meteoroid. A meteoroid is a piece of interplanetary matter that is smaller than a kilometer and frequently only millimeters in size. Most meteoroids that enter the Earth's atmosphere are so small that they vaporize completely and never reach the planet's surface.
If any part of a meteoroid survives the fall through the atmosphere and lands on Earth, it is called a meteorite. Although the vast majority of meteorites are very small, their size can range from about a fraction of a gram (the size of a pebble) to 100 kilograms (220 lbs) or more (the size of a huge, life-destroying boulder).
Asteroids are generally larger chunks of rock that come from the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Comets are asteroid-like objects covered with ice, methane, ammonia, and other compounds that develop a fuzzy, cloud-like shell called a coma and sometimes a visible tail whenever they orbit close to the Sun.
I understand the answer but it leaves me puzzled as to what I saw in the sky. It can't have been a meteorite like the one that landed in Russia last year, otherwise we'd have heard about it. Whatever it was, it looked pretty big to me.
Maybe it was a UFO.
I can't remember why Francis Drake came up in class. Mari Carmen and José Luis called him a pirate. I can't remember ever having heard him called that so I did a bit of research.
Sir Francis Drake, vice admiral (c. 1540 – 27 January 1596) was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Drake carried out the second circumnavigation of the world, from 1577 to 1580.
Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He died of dysentery in January 1596 after unsuccessfully attacking San Juan, Puerto Rico.
His exploits were legendary, making him a hero to the English but a pirate to the Spaniards to whom he was known as El Draque. King Philip II was said to have offered a reward of 20,000 ducats, about £4 million by modern standards, for his life.
So it seems that he is referred to as a pirate in Spanish classrooms but he is called a privateer in England. In reality, the actions of a pirate and a privateer are the same.
Were there any submarines in World War One?
When telling me about their history lesson on World War One, Ínes and Alicia talked about the role of submarines. I doubted that they had played any part in the war. I was never very good at history. So hands up girls - you were right and I go to bottom of the class.
Military submarines first made a significant impact in World War I. Forces such as the U-boats of Germany saw action in the First Battle of the Atlantic, and were responsible for the sinking of RMS Lusitania, which was sunk as a result of unrestricted submarine warfare and is often cited among the reasons for the entry of the United States into the war.
At the very outbreak of war Germany had only 20 submarines immediately available for combat, although these included vessels of the diesel-engined U-19 class with the range (5,000 miles) and speed (eight knots) to operate effectively around the entire British coast. By contrast the Royal Navy had a total of 74 submarines, though of mixed effectiveness. In August 1914, a flotilla of ten U-boats sailed from their base in Heligoland to attack Royal Navy warships in the North Sea in the first submarine war patrol in history.
The U-boats' ability to function as practical war machines relied on new tactics, their numbers, and submarine technologies such as combination diesel-electric power system developed in the preceding years. More submersibles than true submarines, U-boats operated primarily on the surface using regular engines, submerging occasionally to attack under battery power. They were roughly triangular in cross-section, with a distinct keel to control rolling while surfaced, and a distinct bow. During World War I more than 5,000 Allied ships were sunk by U-boats.