What is a shooting star?

Shooting stars are tiny meteors that glow white hot when they hurtle from out of space into the earth’s atmosphere.

If you look up at the sky long enough on a dark, clear night, you may see the fiery streak of a “shooting star” flash across the sky.


While “shooting star” may be a pretty name, it is not accurate, for real stars are great glowing balls of gases far out in space.

The “shooting stars” that streaks across the sky are bits of rock and metal called meteors.  Many billions of meteors zip around through space.

Many of them come so close that they are captured by earth’s gravity, and are pulled toward earth.  As the speeding meteors hurtle into the earth’s atmosphere, friction with the air causes them to glow white hot.  Then we see them as blazing trails of lights.

Meteors rarely blaze for more than a few seconds.  Most of those we see were originally no bigger than a grain of rice.  They usually burn up before they reach the ground.

Meteors that survive their fall and land on earth are called meteorites. – Dick Rogers


1 Comment

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