Everyday, Earth is bombarded by thousands of dust and rock fragments from space. When they enter the atmosphere, friction causes there particles to heat up and vaporize. If the fragment is large enough, it will sometimes burn up, generating enough light to make it vivible. These are called meteors. They are also know as shooting stars, even though they aren't really stars at all. Some fragments are either large enough or tough enough that a piece survives to hit Earth's surface. These are called meteorites.
 

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