Meteors, comets & asteroids

Whether you are wishing on a ‘shooting star’ or wondering about the likelihood of an asteroid ending life on earth, read on for more about the origins of comets, meteors and asteroids. Plus, discover how you can learn to observe asteroids for yourself.





The challenges of measuring everything from a fast-moving, wobbly platform through a haze.

Hunting Moon © Jean Baptise Feldmann, Astronomy Photographer of the Year People and Space Runner Up 2011

Is it a star, is it a planet or is it a plane? A handy guide to identifying that bright object you saw last night.


Hundreds of thousands of asteroids litter the solar system - while fragments of them rain down as meteorites - yet the first one was only found in 1801


Comets have fascinated us for hundreds of years as they hurtled past Earth as celestial sprays of fire but they are only now at all understood. 

Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower in Mount Bromo © Justin Ng.jpg

What are comets, meteors, shooting stars, meteorites and asteroids made of? And what is the difference between them all? 


Want to see 'shooting stars'? Check the key dates for major meteor showers in the UK and how to see them in the night sky.


What’s out there in space lurking close to the Earth and is it going to hit us?


What would you see at the furthermost edge of the Solar System as you finally left the Sun behind?


Tour the Solar System with our essential facts and figures.

UK Meteor, Clatteringshaw Loch by Thomas Heaton.jpg

In 2019 the Perseid meteor shower is active between 17 July and 24 August with the number of meteors increasing every night until it reaches a peak in mid-August after which it will tail off. This year the peak falls on the night of the 12th and before dawn on 13 August.