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.

Meteor trail
(Photo by Jack Fusco)


  • meteoroids are billions of tiny rocks that hurtle around the Solar System – most of them are no bigger than a pea.

Pea size

  • most meteoroids are very small and burn up when they enter the earth’s atmosphere.

Photo from International Space Station (ISS)

  • shooting stars – may look like stars shooting across the night sky – but they are actually meteors.
  • meteors showers – often bursts into dozens of shooting stars that happens as earth hit dust left over by a comet passed.

Earth hit dust left over by a comet passed.

  • although meteors are not stars – meteors showers are named after the constellations they seem to come from.


  • the heaviest showers are;

the Quadrantids (3rd-4th January),

the Perseids (11th/12th August),

the Leonids (17th/18th November) and

the Geminids (13th December).

  • a large meteorite could hit the Earth at any time.
  • meteorites are bigger space rocks that are able to penetrate right through the earth’s atmosphere and reach to land the ground or damage objects such as a car.


Did you know?

  • the impact of a large meteorite may have chilled the earth to wipe out the dinosaurs.


Back to  The Solar System  page /  next to  Meteorites  page.

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