This is a common name used to describe an unexpected streak of light seen in our night sky. It’s caused by a small body called a meteoroid that burns up when it enters Earth’s atmosphere. It can be as small as a grain of sand, travelling between 35–75km per second.
As it travels through the atmosphere, friction causes it to heat up and burn. This is why we see it as a streak of light or star trail through the night sky.
The body is called a meteoroid when it’s in the sky, a meteor as it flashes through the sky and a meteorite if a piece of it survives and lands on Earth. The darker the skies, the easier “shooting stars” are to see!
What is a Meteor Shower?
A meteor shower occurs when our planet Earth passes through the trail of debris left by a comet after it has completed its journey around our Sun. The Orionid Meteor Shower is caused by the debris left by well known Halley’s Comet.
The debris can be as small as a grain of sand and can be travelling at 10-70kms per second. When this debris hits the Earth’s atmosphere it burns up causing a bright streak of light to appear in our night sky. When Earth passes through the trail of debris left by a comet, there are lots of pieces that can enter Earth’s atmosphere causing a greater number of meteors (or “shooting stars”). Hence the name meteor shower.