A meteor or "shooting star" is the passage of a meteoroid or micrometeoroid into the Earth's atmosphere, incandescent from air friction and shedding glowing material in its wake sufficiently to create a visible streak of light.

A meteor or "shooting star" is the passage of a meteoroid or micrometeoroid into the Earth's atmosphere, incandescent from air friction and shedding glowing material in its wake sufficiently to create a visible streak of light.Meteors typically occur in the mesosphere at altitudes between 76 to 100 km (47 to 62 mi). The root word meteor comes from the Greek meteōros, meaning "high in the air."

A meteor or "shooting star" is the passage of a meteoroid or micrometeoroid into the Earth's atmosphere, incandescent from air friction and shedding glowing material in its wake sufficiently to create a visible streak of light.

Millions of meteors occur in the Earth's atmosphere daily. Most meteoroids that cause meteors are about the size of a grain of sand. Meteors may occur in showers, which arise when the Earth passes through a stream of debris left by a comet, or as "random" or "sporadic" meteors, not associated with a specific stream of space debris. A number of specific meteors have been observed, largely by members of the public and largely by accident, but with enough detail that orbits of the meteoroids producing the meteors have been calculated. All of the orbits passed through the asteroid belt. The atmospheric velocities of meteors result from the movement of Earth around the Sun at about 30 km/s (18 miles/second), the orbital speeds of meteoroids, and the gravity well of Earth.