A meteor is a relatively small celestial object that has entered, can enter, or is entering Earth's atmosphere. They are not easy to study, thus explanations have traditionally been various and inaccurate. They are typically seen as streaks of light in the sky, more easily seen after midnight, and sometimes in large numbers. The burning occurs because the objects are not going the same speed as the Earth, and our air causes them to change speed drastically. Most of them burn up as they enter the air and leave no trace behind.


    1. Meteor? (see it) Another Name?
    2. Meteorite? (touch it)
    3. Meteoroid? (avoid it)


In 1794, the German lawyer, E.F.F. Chladni, published a study describing his evidence that meteorites fall from the sky, correctly guessing that they were extraterrestrial objects, heated as they fell through the atmosphere. He even suggested that they could be fragments of a broken planet. His ideas were widely rejected, at least for the next 6 years. We now know that meteors come from many sources: comets, asteroid collisions, even impacts on Mars.

Meteor Showers

  1. How are they named?
  2. Path: Elliptical Belts around sun
  3. Origin: Dead Comets and Asteroid hits
  4. Well known Meteor Showers

NASA data on Showers