meteor
  • The visible flash of light produced by a meteoroid entering the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The term is also applied to the streak of electrons produced by the same effect, which can be observed because it reflects radar signals. Meteors can be sporadic – not associated with a known shower – or can travel in packs with the same orbits, in which case they are named after the constellation in which the shower’s radiant appears. The radiant effect is a practical demonstration of perspective. The meteoroids are travelling on parallel courses so that they appear to come from the same spot, like railway tracks appearing to converge towards the horizon.
  • A momentary and bright streak or trail of light which appears in the sky when a meteoroid penetrates, and is subsequently burned, by the atmosphere.

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