A Leonid meteor radiating from the Leo constellation

 
As Earth revolves around the Sun, it regularly comes across static clouds of small particles left in the wake of ancient comets. Indeed, as it approaches the Sun wonderful tails will be stripped from a comet by stellar winds. Though too diffuse to reflect sunlight, the cloud of particles left behind continues to orbit around the Sun and crosses the path of some planets. Here the Leonid shower has caused this bright "shooting star": actually a very tiny grain of dust burning in the Earth's atmosphere due to the high speed of impact.