A meteoroid that has entered Earth′s atmosphere.

In particular, the light phenomenon which results from the entry into the earth′s atmosphere of a solid particle from space; more generally, any physical object or phenomenon associated with such an event.

Earth Point

The point where the forward straight-line projection of a meteor trajectory intersects the surface of the earth.


A bright meteor with luminosity which equals or exceeds that of the brightest planets.

Gas Cap

The gas immediately in front of a body as it travels through the atmosphere.


The end of the highly luminous path of a visual meteor. Also called Stopping Point.

Ion Column

The trail of ionized gases in the trajectory of a meteoroid entering the upper atmosphere.

Meteor Path

The projection of the trajectory of a meteor in the celestial sphere as seen by the observer.

Meteor Shower

A number of meteors with approximately parallel trajectories.

Meteor Stream

A group of meteoric bodies with nearly identical orbits.

Meteor Trail

This may manifest itself as light or ionization and is left along the trajectory of the meteor.

Meteor Wake

A meteor trail of very short duration, in general much less than a second.

Naming Convention

The common meteor showers are named for the constellations of stars in which their radiants appear.

Persistent Trail

A meteor train which endures for an appreciable length of time.

Photographic Meteor

A meteor of brightness sufficient to be detected by photography.


The apparent location on the celestial sphere of the origin of the luminous trajectories of meteors seen during a meteor shower.

Radio Meteor

A meteor which has been detected by the reflection of a radio signal from the meteor trail of relatively high ion density.

Shooting Star

Another name for a meteor.

Sporadic meteor

A meteor which is not associated with one of the regularly recurring meteor showers or streams.

Whistling Meteor

Name applied to a radio meteor when a detection system is used in which the presence of the meteor is indicated by a rapidly changing audiofrequency radio signal.

See also: Gas Cap, Meteorite, Meteoroid.

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Subjects: Astronomy Geology