Meteors

The Earth travels about the Sun at 30 km/s. When the Earth enters a region containing cometary dust, the particles crash into the upper atmosphere travelling at an amazing 75 km/s. The heat and friction causes the dust to burn - we see them as shooting stars. They appear as streaks of light shooting across the night sky.

Leonid Fireball Meteor, 1966

A Leonid Fireball Meteor from 1966.
Photographer: J. W. Young. Source: TMO, JPL, NASA.

There are a number of meteor showers that can be viewed from Australia. They are named after the stars or constellations from where they appear to begin their journey.

Meteorites are large meteors that pass through the atmosphere and hit the Earth. Everyday tons of meteorite dust can pass through our atmosphere undetected.

Meteor Showers visible from Australia

Meteor Shower Activity Period Maximum Zenith Hourly Rate
p-Puppids March 15 - April 28 April 23 40
h-Aquarids* April 19 - May 28 May 4 50
Perseids July 17 - August 24 August 12 100
Orionids* October 2 - November 7 October 22 30
Leonids November 14 - November 21 November 17 10-20
Geminids December 7 - December 17 December 14 100

* Dust from Halley's Comet Tail

Comments (11)

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shayne 16 November, 2009 14:48
cool stuff but i have to say the black holes are better
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Jacko 20 January, 2010 11:48
the picture is cool
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ariana 27 March, 2010 11:18
meteors are awesome!!!
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john 13 October, 2010 00:47
it was so very nice and i like it two thumbs up
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Stewie 8 November, 2010 14:45
i have to say, space is pretty dang cool. i think that's what I'm going to go to college for. but i don't know for sure sure yet. i still have 3 and a half more years to decide.
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kashieca 18 December, 2010 17:32
i love 2 explore outside of our planet...to know and familiar their characterestic
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Alan Grey 6 July, 2011 20:16
I wish to know my own little dunghill first.
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Muneeb 7 August, 2011 05:06
I like this picture
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KEN 4 December, 2011 15:43
I THINK THAT THE METEORS ARE VERY COOL AND THEY ARE VERY BEAUTIFUL.
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Will 4 January, 2014 14:56
Very interesting about the difference between Meteors and Meteorites. Also facinating about how they are named by which costellations they come from.
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C6 19 April, 2014 11:41
any one can suggest a location near melbourne to see the p-Puppids?
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