Once while camping with my family as a child we all watched a meteor shower in the summer (in the month of August).

All the meteorites streaked across the sky in the same direction.

Obviously, this was the result of the Earth passing thru a group of meteors but I've always wondered.

Do meteorites always streak in the same direction? While I know it's not likely to be exactly the same direction, but generally speaking. Would one say meteorites always travel for example: east to west?

I thought this was a plausible fact since the Earth is travelling around the Sun in a constant direction, and additionally it's always rotating in the same direction.

While meteorites can travel in all directions. Does the Earth's gravity pull them straight down towards the surface resulting in the streak to be always in the same direction.

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    $\begingroup$ There is a difference in the meaning of terms meteoroid, meteor, and meteorite. Before entering the earth's atmosphere the small objects in the space are meteoroids. After entering the earth's atmosphere they start burning. These burning objects are meteors. If they are not burnt completely they reach earth's surface. They are known as meteorites. ![Meteoroid meteor meteorite.gif](i.sstatic.net/HLgV6.gif) Source from Meteoroid $\endgroup$
    – charwalk
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


No, meteorites of the same shower look as coming from the same point in the sky. They are usually named according to the point they seen to come from, e.g. the leonids, or the perseids. The point, they seem to originate is a result of the relative velocity of the meteorites to the earth.

Meteor showers are thought to be remnants of comets, hence the similar orbits of the meteorites within a shower.

Here a more complete list of meteor showers.

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    $\begingroup$ If the point they "come from" happens to be near the horizon, it may appear as if they are all going in one direction - from direction of that point (as all the others simply vanish below the horizon before you could see them). $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 0:19
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    $\begingroup$ This can occur, yes. The point can also be hidden behind a hill or a house, making them appear to going roughly in one direction. $\endgroup$
    – Gerald
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ The point a meteor shower come from is called it's Radiant: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiant_%28meteor_shower%29 $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ Meteorites don't have orbits; a meteor only becomes a meteorite when it impacts the ground. See here and/or here for more info. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 17:10

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