Definitions

falling star

falling star

falling star: see meteor.

Entry into Earth's atmosphere of multiple meteoroids (see meteor), traveling in parallel paths, usually spread over several hours or days. Most meteor showers come from matter released during passage of a comet through the inner solar system, and they recur annually as Earth crosses the comet's orbital path. Meteor showers are usually named for a constellation (e.g., Leonid for Leo) or star in their direction of origin. Most showers are visible as a few dozen meteors per hour, but occasionally Earth crosses an especially dense concentration of meteoroids, as in the great Leonid meteor shower of 1833, in which hundreds of thousands of meteors were seen in one night all over North America.

Learn more about meteor shower with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or shooting star or falling star

Streak of light in the sky that results when a particle or small chunk of stony or metallic matter from space enters Earth's atmosphere and is vapourized by friction. The term is sometimes applied to the falling object itself, properly called a meteoroid. Most meteoroids, traveling at five times the speed of sound or more, burn up in the upper atmosphere, but a large one may survive its fiery plunge and reach the surface as a solid body (meteorite). Seealso meteor shower.

Learn more about meteor with a free trial on Britannica.com.

"Falling Star" is an episode of The Outer Limits television series. It first aired on 30 June, 1996, during the second season.

Introduction

A pop singer is about to commit suicide, when she meets Rachel; a time traveller and fan from the future.

Opening Narration

"We are told, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. But in these times when ‘celebrity’ is the drug of choice, the truly famous will tell you... fifteen minutes is rarely long enough."

Plot

Pop singer Melissa McCammon (Sheena Easton) is about to commit suicide by overdosing on drugs. With her once meteoric career at a standstill and her husband (Xander Berkeley) cheating on her, she sees no hope. Then she encounters Rachael, an ardent fan from the future. Rachael is a time traveler — and an uninvited tourist in Melissa's body. She tells Melissa that her music inspired her future fans to resist a totalitarian takeover, which will succeed if she dies now. However special authorities are out to punish Rachel for her crime, as time-traveling and using a host body plus changing the past is a serious offense, and she must be taken care of. The authorizes from the future want Melissa dead and will resort to anything — including murder — to preserve their version of the past.

The final scene shows Melissa on the stage (in her friend Janet's body) singing to an audience.

Closing Narration

"In the long view of history, what difference will any of our lives make? The true measure of a life is not how many people know our names when we die... but whether we touch the lives of others."

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