What Does Seeing a Shooting Star Mean?

seeing-shooting-star-mean Credit: Michael Pollak/CC-BY 2.0

Seeing a shooting star means that a meteor is plummeting toward earth. The glowing appearance is caused when the meteor's surface catches on fire upon entering the Earth's atmosphere. A shooting star, therefore, is not actually a star.

Although the idea of space debris plummeting toward Earth seems a bit intimidating, meteoroids, which are meteors that are still floating through space, are much smaller than comets or asteroids. Although there are some records of meteors actually making impact on the ground and causing damage, the vast majority of them are either completely consumed by fire before hitting the ground or are extremely insignificant in size and cause virtually no damage.