A meteor is a meteoroid that has entered the Earth’s atmosphere, usually making a fiery trail as it falls. It is sometimes called a shooting star or a falling star.
The friction between the fast-moving meteor and the gas in the Earth’s atmosphere causes intense heat; the meteor glows with heat and then burns. This glowing phase usually happens 50 to 68 miles (80 to 110 kilometers) above the Earth. Most meteors burn up before hitting the Earth. Only large meteors can survive the trip through our atmosphere. Most meteors glow for only a few seconds before they burn up.