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WHAT IS A METEOR?
To refresh on "meteor terminology," let us quickly review the correct word associations for the upcoming event. Of course we are all familiar with the phrase "shooting star," but thank our lucky stars that STARS do NOT randomly fall from the sky. As the point of light seems to suddenly increase in brightness and move across the sky in lightening speeds, it does indeed appear to be a star that is rapidly in motion, leaving a fiery wake behind it. But "shooting star" is merely a misnomer for the phenomenon we know today as "meteor." It is one of three "names" associated with this phenomenon:
METEOROID: an object - usually dust to grapefruit size - that remains as debris from a disintegrating comet in its wake; this meteoroid will follow in essentially the same path as the comet, and thus many times encounter the earth in periodic fashion, just like the debris from Halley's Comet comes in contact with the Earth in October as the Orionid meteor shower and again in spring as the Eta Aquarid meteors. The objects following in the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle are meteoroids until they encounter the Earth's atmosphere.
Compare the two photographs of Halley's comet following, BOTH taken simultaneously on March 14, 1986; the first one I took with a 400mm Nikkor f/3 lens and camera riding piggyback at the observatory for 20 minutes showing the dust and gas tail of the comet when near brightest; it is from this decaying material that largely comprises the tail that many of our meteoroids originate. Now look at the close-up from the European Space Agency spacecraft as it rendezvoused with Halleys on the same night; you can see the solar wind actually eating away at the comet's nucleus, release much dust and debris that can possibly eventually collide with the Earth in October or May of some year in the resulting form of "Meteors."
METEORITE: any meteor which can survive this fiery plunge through the dense air of Earth and actually make it to the ground is known as a METEORITE. Many of the Perseid meteors are so fast and for the most part so small that they rarely will survive the descent, and few if any meteorites found on Earth can actually be associated to the Swift-Tuttle cloud.
Note that the apparent COLOR of the meteor as it is burned in the atmosphere CAN be a direct indicator scientifically as to some of the chemical components of which it is composed. The nice graphic below, courtesy of AccuWeather, shows the different colors that you might witness in a brilliant fireball and the associated KNOWN chemical compounds that can be associated with the burning of the meteor "stuff", much like chemistry lab where certain chemicals can be identifed by the "flame test" of a Bunsen Burner.