Streaks of light seen in the night sky are meteors.
- Meteors – they are made when dust or rocks crash into Earth’s atmosphere and burn up leaving a flaming trail. (photo by Jack Fusco)
- meteoroids are billions of tiny rocks that hurtle around the Solar System – most are no bigger than a pea. (photo)
- most meteoroids are very small and burn up when they enter the earth’s atmosphere. (Photo from Space Shuttle)
- shooting stars – may look like stars shooting across the night sky – but they are actually meteors.
- meteors showers – often bursts of dozens of shooting stars that happens as earth hit dust left over by a comet passed. (diagram)
- although meteors are not stars – meteors showers are named after the constellations they seem to come from. (diagram)
- the heaviest showers are the Quadrantids (3rd-4th January), the Perseids (11th/12th August), the Leonids (17th/18th November) and the Geminids (13th December).
- meteorites are larger space rocks that penetrate right through the earth’s atmosphere and reach to land the ground or damage the objects as a car. (photo)
- a large meteorite could hit the Earth at any time.
Did you know?
- the impact of a large meteorite may have chilled the earth to wipe out the dinosaurs. (photo).
Back to The Solar System page.