What is a meteor?

Olga Kravchenko
Olga Kravchenko
January 27, 2015
What is a meteor?

Many see the meteor as an object of cosmic origin, falling to Earth. This is not entirely true. So what is a meteor from the point of view of scientists?

A meteor (in translation from Greek - a falling star) is a trail glowing in the sky, remaining after combustion in the atmosphere of small cosmic bodies. These bodies are called meteoroids and may be fragments of comets or asteroids. A meteoroid that fell to earth is called a meteorite. It is important to understand that a meteor is not an object, but a phenomenon in which a bright band is visible in the sky. Therefore, when we admire flashes in the night sky, we see precisely the meteor, and not the meteoroids themselves, which are not visible.

Meteors form into meteor shower — a phenomenon when a trace of many burning cosmic bodies is visible in the sky. The trace itself is usually visible from a few seconds to a few minutes.

There is a broader understanding of a meteor when they call all phenomena visible in the atmosphere, but it is used very rarely, in highly specialized meteorological articles.