What's the Difference? Asteroid-Comet-Meteroid-Meteor-Meterite

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

An asteroid is an object that is neither a true planet nor a comet that orbits the Sun. As a result they are considered minor planets. They are rocky, metallic or icy bodies with no atmosphere. Sizes and shapes of asteroids vary greatly,  ranging from 1-meter rocks to almost 1000 km in diameter.
The greatest number of asteroids are located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, in the main asteroid belt.

asteroid belt

A comet is an object made of frozen ice gas and dust that orbits the Sun.They are classified as a small solar system body. Many comets have a very elliptical orbit and as the comet gets close to the sun, heats up and forms a glowing tail. As of 2021 there are 4584 identified comets, and roughly one comet is visible without a telescope a year.


Meteoroids are fragments of space junk or rocks that are created from collisions among asteroids, comets, moons and planets. Meteoroids are smaller than asteroids, ranging in size from 1 millimeter to objects up to a meter wide. They are among the smallest space rocks that orbit the Sun.

 A meteor is a meteoroid passes through the Earth's atmosphere, heats up due to air resistance and glows brightly. 


A space fragment that does not burn up in the atmosphere and strikes the earth it is called a meteorite. Here is a picture of actual meteorite that struck the earth.


Now here's the sequence: you have a meteoroid in space and when it enters the atmosphere it is a meteor, and when it strikes the earth it is a meteorite.


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