Meteor Showers 101
When you wish upon a falling star, you're actually offering your hopes and dreams to a small piece of space rock burning up as it plummets through Earth's atmosphere. Known as meteors, these brilliant streaks of light have entranced humans for centuries, especially when they arrive in bursts of blazing glory during sky shows called meteor showers.
Scientists have known since the mid-1800s that almost all meteor showers are born from icy comets. When one of these visitors from deep space enters the inner part of the solar system, heat from the sun causes ices on the comet's surface to change from ice to gas, a process called sublimation. This is what produces a comet's beautiful tail.