To the naked eye, a shooting star appears as a fleeting flash of white light. This image, however, documents the appearance of a wide spectrum of colors produced by the object as it hurdles toward Earth. These colors are predictable: first red, then white, and finally blue. If the meteor (shooting star) is large enough to survive the fall through the atmosphere, it cools and doesn't emit any visible light at all.
Hundreds of meteors streak through the sky every summer as part of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The Perseids, as they are known, are debris from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Earth passes through the comet's path, and tiny pieces of rocks and minerals from the tail enter Earth's upper atmosphere, burning up as "shooting stars."