Meteors, Comets, and Asteroids
- Meteors are small bodies of matter from outer space that enters the earth's atmosphere. They burn up because of friction in the atmosphere and are seen streaking across the skies.
- Meteors, meteorites, and meteoroids are very similar. Meteors are small bodies of matter from outer space that enters the earth's atmosphere. A meteoroid is a piece of debris it is given off from a meteor when it heats up. A meteorite is a meteor that survives the fall to Earth and strikes the Earth.
- Comets are icy bodies that release gasses or dust as they fly through the solar system.
- Most comets are thought to measure 10 miles wide but some can be much larger.
- The nucleus is the small rocky core of the comet. The tail or the coma, is made up of gasses that the comet gives off as it approaches the sun.
- Comets are normally found in 2 specific regions of space. One is called the Kuiper Belt, the other is called the Oort Cloud. Most of the comets that appear in space are thought to come from the the Kuiper Belt.
- Asteroids are rocky-metallic objects which orbit the Sun. These objects are just too small to be called planets.
- They range in size from about the size of pebbles to around 600 miles across.
- Most asteroids are fount in the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt lies between Mars and Jupiter.
- The three largest asteroids are Ceres, Pallas and Vesta.