At various times of the year, Earth’s orbit takes us through swarms of particles.
The pull of Earth’s gravity forces these particles to streak through the atmosphere, creating a display of shooting stars, as they are sometimes called. Whizzing downward, the meteors become visible at about 70 miles (112.7 kilometers) away.
This usually happens at the same point in the sky every year, so the showers are given the name of the nearest star constellation. Around August 12, for instance, the Perseids appear to come from the constellation Perseus.
Around November 17, the Leonids seem to spring from Leo. The meteors only seem to come from these constellations, however. Streaking meteors can be seen in almost any part of the sky.