Commonly known as a shooting star, or a fallaing star, meteors are streaks of light that last just a few seconds. Almost everyone has seen one, but surpisingly few know what they're seeing. A meteor is caused when a meteoroid, an object floating in space, burns up in the earth's atmosphere. A meteor can be caused by objects as small as a grain of sand because of the great speed it hs traveling at the earth. Rarely will a meteoroid by large enough to survive the trip through the earth's atmosphere. Meteroids that land on earth are called meteorites. That's the basics to meteors.