Meteor Facts

  • Meteors are space objects that crash into Earth’s atmosphere. They may be stray asteroids, tiny meteoroids, or the grains of dust from the tails of dying comets.
  • Meteoroids are the billions of tiny lumps of rocky material that hurtle around the Solar System. Most are no bigger than a pea.
  • Most meteors are very small and burn up as they enter the atmosphere.
  • Shooting stars may look like stars shooting across the night sky, but they are actually meteors burning up as they hit Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Meteor showers are bursts of dozens of shooting stars which arrive as Earth hits the tail of a comet.
  • Although meteors are not stars, meteor showers are named after the constellations they seem to come from.
  • The heaviest showers are the Perseids (12 Aug), the Geminids (13 Dec) and the Quadrantids (3 Jan).
  • Meteorites are larger meteors that penetrate right through Earth’s atmosphere and reach the ground.
  • A large meteorite could hit the Earth at any time.