Key Takeaways

  • Meteors, commonly known as “shooting stars,” are streaks of light in the sky caused by meteoroids entering Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Meteoroids are small fragments of rock or iron that orbit the sun and are often created by asteroid collisions or comet debris.
  • The heat generated by friction as a meteoroid travels through the atmosphere causes it to glow brightly, creating the visible meteor.
  • Some meteoroids survive the atmosphere and reach Earth’s surface as meteorites.
  • The colors of meteors vary based on the chemical composition of the meteoroid and the atmospheric conditions.

Every year, Earth’s skies become a canvas for a spectacular show as millions of celestial fragments from space hurtle towards our planet. These dazzling streaks of light, commonly referred to as meteors or “shooting stars,” are the result of meteoroids – small rocky or metallic pieces that orbit the sun. Primarily born from the aftermath of asteroid collisions and the debris of comets, these meteoroids embark on a fiery journey as they breach Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Upon entering the atmosphere, the meteoroid’s high-speed travel triggers friction with the air, generating an intense heat that causes the surrounding gases to illuminate. The mesmerizing meteor then graces the night sky with its luminous presence. While many meteors disintegrate during this passage, some persistent ones reach Earth’s surface, where they earn the name meteorites.

Adding to the allure, meteors exhibit a captivating array of colors. The specific hue of a meteor is a product of various factors, including the elemental composition of the meteoroid and the atmospheric conditions it traverses. For example, a meteor rich in iron might paint the sky in hues of yellow, while high levels of calcium could result in a striking purple streak. As we crane our necks to catch these fleeting marvels, we’re reminded of the mysteries and wonders that abound beyond our world.


Meteor, with a beautiful sunset and moon captured on July,2020.

Credit: danielbasilef


Car dash cam caught this meteor falling over the Bay Area in California on 23rd Dec,2018.

Credit: chiccomattos


An “unusually large” meteor illuminated the night sky over the very north Svalbard on 25th July,2021 early Sunday morning.

Credit: Asim Kaleem


A meteor is a streak of light in the sky caused by a meteoroid crashing through Earth’s atmosphere.

Credit: Aussie mom from Victoria


A meteor burst captured over Yichang, Hubei, China on 12th Aug. 2018.

Credit: Dandan Huang


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