Meteors, Shooting Stars and Fireballs

Related Topics: Asteroids, Aurora Borealis, Comets

Meteors, also known as shooting stars, are pieces of dust and debris from space that burn up in Earth's atmosphere, where they can create bright streaks across the night sky. When Earth passes through the dusty trail of a comet or asteroid's orbit, the many streaks of light in the sky are known as a meteor shower. Particularly large chunks of material can create an extra-bright fireball streak, but most meteors are still small enough to entirely burn up in Earth's atmosphere. If a meteor makes it to Earth it's known as a meteorite. Before they hit atmosphere the objects are called meteoroids.