Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through debris shed by a comet (if I get that right). Does this mean that the entire orbit of the comet is strewn with debris? I suppose that the debris follows the same orbit as the comet core it was released from as it passed close enough to the Sun for ices of different kinds to sublimate. Is the debris that cause meteor showers somewhat evenly distributed along a huge ellipse crossing the orbits of Earth and (often) Jupiter?

Are such cometary debris streams, and not only those crossing Earth's orbit, somehow cataloged and characterized?


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