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It then becomes a meteor and forms a fireball, also known as a shooting star or falling star; astronomers call the brightest examples "bolides". For geologists, a bolide is a meteorite large enough to create an impact crater.
Meteorites have traditionally been divided into three broad categories: stony meteorites that are rocks, mainly composed of silicate minerals; iron meteorites that are largely composed of metallic iron-nickel; and stony-iron meteorites that contain large amounts of both metallic and rocky material.
Reports vary; some meteorites are reported to be "burning hot to the touch" upon landing, while others are alleged to have been cold enough to condense water and form a frost.
Meteoroids that experience disruption in the atmosphere may fall as meteorite showers, which can range from only a few up to thousands of separate individuals.
Flashes and bursts of light can occur as the object breaks up.
(The very first example of a stony meteorite found in association with a large impact crater, the Morokweng crater in South Africa, was reported in May 2006.Following passage of the fireball, it is not unusual for a dust trail to linger in the atmosphere for several minutes.