ETYM French météore, Greek meteoros things in the air, from eoros high in air, raised off the ground; ; en in + ergon work beyond + aeirein to lift, raise up.
A meteoroid that has entered the earth's atmosphere; SYN. shooting star.
Flash of light in the sky, popularly known as a shooting or falling star, caused by a particle of dust, a meteoroid, entering the atmosphere at speeds up to 70 kps/45 mps and burning up by friction at a height of around 100 km/60 mi. On any clear night, several sporadic meteors can be seen each hour.
Several times each year the Earth encounters swarms of dust shed by comets, which give rise to a meteor shower.
This appears to radiate from one particular point in the sky, after which the shower is named; the Perseid meteor shower in Aug appears in the constellation Perseus. A brilliant meteor is termed a fireball. Most meteoroids are smaller than grains of sand. The Earth sweeps up an estimated 16,000 metric tons of meteoric material every year.