Scientists Say: Asteroid, meteor and meteorite

Asteroid (noun, “AS-tear-oyd”), Meteor (noun, “ME-tee-or”), Meteorite (noun, “ME-tee-or-ite”)

These are three words for the same object in different places. They all describe a rocky body from space. An asteroid is a small rocky object that orbits the sun. Asteroids are smaller than a planet. They don’t form spheres and aren’t big enough to keep other objects out of their way. But asteroids are large enough to hit each other. Some asteroids break off smaller chunks when they collide. Those small chunks are called meteoroids. Those also orbit the sun.

The orbits of some asteroids and meteoroids bring these objects close to Earth. If one gets close, it might get grabbed by Earth’s gravity and fall through the atmosphere. When it does, it becomes a meteor. Meteors are vaporizing asteroids or meteoroids. They are heating up so much that their rock turns to vapor as they fall. They are so hot they are incandescent — meaning they emit light. We see them as streaks of light in the sky.

Most of the time, meteors vaporize completely. But every once in a while, the remains hit the ground. Then, the object becomes a meteorite. Meteorites haven’t changed a lot since they were formed early in the history of the solar system. They are very similar to the rocks that may have formed our planet billions of years ago. Scientists study meteorites to understand how the Earth may have formed.

In a sentence

Scientists were so busy searching for the asteroid 2012 DA14, they missed the meteor that exploded over Russia in 2013 — leaving meteorites scattered behind.

Check out the full list of Scientists Say.

Recent Articles

How to log out of Facebook Messenger

Facebook decided a while back to make Messenger its own standalone app....

Migrating Jupiter May Have Made Venus Uninhabitable Long Ago | Planetary Science

Early in the formation of Jupiter as a planet, it moved closer to and then away from the Sun due to interactions with the...

Jordyn Woods Explains How Shared Family Tragedy ‘Connected’ Her & New BF Karl-Anthony Towns

Jordyn Woods is opening up about her sweet new romance with Karl-Anthony Towns and how tragic family losses unexpectedly brought them together. In case you...

How to file great bug reports – Discover

Bugs are an inevitable part of the development process. Though they can be frustrating to bump up against, you can help squash these sorts...

Related Stories

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox