|May25-10, 06:11 AM||#1|
What is the main difference between an astroid, mereorite and a meteor?
|May25-10, 06:19 AM||#2|
Asteroid: A relatively small, inactive body, composed of rock, carbon or metal, which is orbiting the Sun.
Comet: A relatively small, sometimes active object, which is composed of dirt and ices. Comets are characterised by dust and gas tails when in proximity to the Sun. Far from the Sun it is difficult to distinguish an asteroid from a comet.
Meteoroid: A small particle from an asteroid or comet orbiting he Sun.
Meteor: A meteoroid that is observed as it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere - a shooting star.
Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and impacts the Earth's surface.
Asteroids are rocky and most in our solar system exist in the asteroid belt located between Jupiter and Mars.
Comets, like asteroids, also orbit around the sun. However, they have highly elliptical orbits and are thought to exist in the Oort belt at a distance of 50,000 astronomical units from the sun. They are mostly ice (you can think of them like a large dirty snowball).
Meteors are meteoroids that enter the Earth's atmosphere. Meteoroids are smaller versions of asteroids. They can range from the size of a grain of sand to small boulders.
They all follow elliptical orbits around the sun (Kepler's first law).
Comets, asteroids, and meteors are often grouped together since they are all basically the same thing: small pieces of rock and/or ice that aren't part of a major planet.
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