Comet or asteroid debris, artwork

Comet or asteroid debris, artwork

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Credit: MEHAU KULYK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Comet or asteroid debris. Computer artwork of Earth (bottom right) in the path of broken up pieces of a comet or asteroid. A meteor shower will result if it encounters this dust and the pieces are fine enough to burn up from friction in the Earth's atmosphere. If the pieces are larger then any of the rock that survives and reaches the Earth's surface will be observed as a meteorite impact. An example of a meteor shower from a broken up comet is the Leonid shower, which occurs annually for about 2 days around 17th November, when the Earth crosses the debris produced by the comet Tempel-Tuttle (55P).

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