Meteor Showers

Perseid fireball

How much space debris falls into Earth’s atmosphere every year?

Has anyone ever calculated the combined tonnage of meteroids and space debris falling into our atmosphere yearly? Yes, but it's hard because different methods are needed for different particle sizes. Ground radar and exposed spacecraft surfaces are best for detecting the very smallest bits, whereas photographic surveys have been used for particles large enough to…

Leonid fireball from 2001

Ultimate Guide to Meteor Showers in 2017

Everyone enjoys the brief and sometimes dazzling streaks of light from meteors, sometimes called "shooting stars." Sky & Telescope predicts that the two best meteor showers in 2017 will be the Quadrantids in early January and the Geminids in mid-December.

What is a meteor shower?

Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through a stream of meteoric material. The brief streaks of luminescence we call meteors are caused by meteoroids burning up as they pass through the atmosphere.