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The Perseid meteor shower

A meteor is the visible path of a meteoroid that has entered the Earth's atmosphere. While asteroids that hit the Earth's atmosphere make meteors, the vast majority are created by dust and rocks or ice flaked from comets.[1] They are visible on clear nights as "shooting stars:" quick, flashing lights moving across the sky. Astronomers tend to use "bolide" to identify an exceptionally bright meteor.[2] Most are so small that they burn up before reaching the surface. If they survives to the impact with the Earth's surface they are called meteorites. Meteors streak quickly across the sky, and go in a few seconds or less.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kaler, James B (2003). Astronomy: Earth, Sky, and Planets. Urbana-Champaign, Illinois: Recorded Books LLC. p. 90. ISBN 1-4025-5782-6. 
  2. Gonzalez, Guillermo; Richards, Jay W (2004). The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc.. p. 75. ISBN 0-89526-065-4.