What Makes A Meteor Shower?

Tools

By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - Were you up early this morning to catch the annual Perseid Meteor shower?

Forecasters were expecting about 40-60 "shooting stars" per hour last night. But what causes these fantastic displays of shooting stars?

Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes though the debris left from a passing comet. As a comet streaks by, it leaves behind a trail of dust and tiny debris as the sun burns off part of it's exterior (kind of like how a slug leaves a trail of goo).

In the Perseid's case, it's leftovers from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed by in 1992. As the Earth passes into the debris field, the dust and debris hits the atmosphere and burns up -- what you see as a shooting star.

Your Photos

YouNews 8yr Pure Athleticism, Talent and Heart 8yr Pure Athleticism, Talent and Heart
My son Keoni Bananola Lamar is 8yr old. The video is when he was 6yrs. He started doing flips on a trampoline in his grandma back yard when he was 5yr. From the first time he got on the trampoline I knew he was fearless.
YouNews Sunset on Rainier Sunset on Rainier
As my friend and I were headed back from an adventurous day of hiking up Summit Peak and Summit Lake in the Carbon river area of the park, we came into a little clearing just in time to see a beautiful sunset on Mount Rainier and the lenticular cloud that had just formed just above it.