This photo will attempt to show a comparison between a man-made satellite and a meteor. This is a meteoroid burning up in the earth's atmosphere. Satellites appear pretty much a straight line streaks, with little variation in intensity, whereas meteors have a huge variation in intensity. This variation is shown by the thickness of the line: starting thin (as it first enters the earth's atmosphere and begins to heat up), becoming very thick (at its hottest point), and then thin again (burning up). And all this usually happens in about 1/4-second, depending on the size of the meteoroid. Most are only the size of a grain of sand. A meteoroid the size of a pea might take up to two seconds to burn up, and create quite a display for its viewers. Even though I was only about 5 days away from the peak of Perseid meteor shower, I typically only get one meteor every 200 images that I take. Because the streak of a meteor happens in only a fraction of a second, and it records this brightly in the photo, this makes most meteors many times brighter (relatively) than man-made satellites.
Meteorites are meteors that do not completely burn up and survive impact on the earth.
Meteoroids are various streams of interplanetary debris. Most of these are left in the wake of comets. Meteoroids become meteors IF they enter the earth's atmosphere.
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