Meteors Can Be Hard To Spot But These NASA Photos Show Them Clearly

Every year there are multiple meteor showers visible from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres on Earth. Some offer more meteors per hour than others but sometimes unpredictable factors like clouds, storms or a bright moon can hamper viewing opportunities. Luckily, NASA has spectacular photos of meteors streaming down through Earth’s atmosphere. 

The first recorded meteor shower in North America happened in 1799 by and was reported by an astronomer by the name of Andrew Ellicott Douglass, according to History. He kept a journal in which he recorded his experience viewing the meteors. The shower Douglass saw was the Leonids meteor shower that usually peaks in November. But they have been happening since Earth began even when there was no explanation for them. 

Read: When Is Perseid Meteor Shower? Where, How To See It This Weekend

Most showers get their names from the point in the sky from which they appear to originate. This makes it easier for astronomers and viewers to orient themselves when sky gazing for the shooting stars. A meteor is a piece of a rock or even dust that burns up in Earth’s atmosphere as it travels.

This photo shows a meteor over Washington, D.C., during the Perseid meteor shows 2015. The camera was set to a 10 second exposure in order to capture the trail. Photo: NASA

While those rocks and dust pieces are still in space they’re simply called meteoroids that are constantly orbiting the sun like the planets and other debris in space do. The meteoroids are a result of asteroids that have hit another object in space and broken into smaller pieces as a result, according to NASA.

This is a particularly bright meteor. Photo: NASA

If one of those asteroids turned meteoroid turned meteor actually makes it to the ground on Earth, it’s called a meteorite. This is fairly infrequent when compared to how many meteors astronomers hypothesize actually enter Earth’s atmosphere on a daily basis. They guess around 10,000 tons of meteors,…

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