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.
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
||Zenith Hourly Rate|
||March 15 - April 28
||April 19 - May 28
||July 17 - August 24
||October 2 - November 7
||November 14 - November 21
||December 7 - December 17
* Dust from Halley's Comet Tail