JERRY SCHAD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JERRY SCHAD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fireball in Leonid meteor shower. Image taken from Anza-Borrego desert, CA. Nov 17, 1998. Meteors, or shooting stars, are particles of dust that enter the Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 35-95 kilometers per second. The Leonid meteor shower occurs every year around 17th of November when the Earth crosses the path of debris produced by the Tempel-Tuttle (55P) comet. Tempel-Tuttle orbits the Sun every 33 years, jettisoning meteoroids that streak the sky as they burn in the Earth's atmosphere. The Leonids get their name from the point, or radiant, from which they appear to emanate. The radiant is in the constellation Leo, which rises in the eastern sky at night, getting higher toward morning.
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