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Meteor and Meteor Shower

 

Meteors are bright trails of light in the sky when interplanetary particles or meteorites enter the Earth's atmosphere at high speed and burn in friction.

Sometimes, many meteors streak across the sky with similar trajectories forming meteor showers. These meteors appear to emanate from the same point in the sky. Meteor showers typically last a few hours to a few days and recur every year though with varying intensities.

 

Meteor Shower and Comet

 

A comet keeps on ejecting its materials especially when it comes near the Sun.  Some debris will stay near the comet's orbit forming an elliptical ring of meteor stream. 

If the Earth's revolution around the Sun intersects the orbit of a comet, the Earth will traverse the meteor stream left by the comet about the same time every year. Some debris of the comet will enter the Earth's atmosphere under gravitational pull and become meteor showers.

 

Major Meteor Streams

 

Name

Time to observe

Associated Comets and their periods in years

Lyrids Meteor Stream

April

1861 I (416)

Aquarids Meteor Stream

May

Halley (76)

Perseids Meteor Stream

July to August

1862 III (105)

Orionids Meteor Stream

October

Halley (76)

Taurids Meteor Stream

October to November

Encke (3)

Leonids Meteor Stream

November

Tempel-Tuttle (33)

Geminids Meteor Stream

December

*

*The Geminids Meteor Stream is the remnant of an asteroid Phaethon. The generation of this meteor stream is similar to those generated from comets.

 

Last revision date: <20 Dec 2012>