What is a meteor shower?

As a comet travels close to the Sun, it heats up and part of the comet vaporizes. After a comet has orbited the Sun many times, a lot of small pieces of the comet are left along the comet's path. A meteor shower happens when Earth passes through the path of a comet. When this happens, the bits of comet debris, most no larger than a grain of sand, create streaks of light in the night sky as they burn up in Earth's atmosphere. Bits of debris which enter Earth's atmosphere are called meteors. On any night, there are several small meteors which shoot across the sky. However, during a meteor shower, tens to hundreds of meteors can be seen each hour. Many of these meteor showers can be predicted and occur at the same time each year.