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Table of Contents Enchanted Learning
All About Astronomy
Site Index
Our Solar System Stars Glossary Printables, Worksheets, and Activities
The Sun The Planets The Moon Asteroids Kuiper Belt Comets Meteors Astronomers

Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites
What's the Difference? Meteoroids
Space Debris
Meteors
Falling through the Atmosphere
Meteor Showers Meteorites
On Earth
Quiz

METEOROIDS
Meteoroids are small bodies that travel through space. Meteoroids are smaller than asteroids; most are smaller than the size of a pebble. Meteoroids have many sources. Most meteoroids come from asteroids that are broken apart by impacts with other asteroids. Other meteoroids come from the Moon, from comets, and from the planet Mars.

METEORS
A meteor is a meteoroid that has entered the Earth's atmosphere, usually making a fiery trail as it falls. It is sometimes called a shooting star or a falling star.

Just before a meteor enter's the Earth's atmosphere, it is moving at roughly 70 kilometers per second. The friction between the fast-moving meteor and the gas in the Earth's atmosphere causes intense heat; the meteor glows with heat and then burns. Most meteors burn up before hitting the Earth. Only large meteors can survive the trip through our atmosphere.

A fireball is any meteor that is brighter than Venus (magnitude -4).

A meteor shower is a phenomenon in which many meteors fall through the atmosphere in a relatively short time and in approximately parallel trajectories. A very intense meteor shower is called a meteor storm.

METEORITES
A meteorite is a meteor that has fallen to Earth. These rare objects have survived a fiery fall through the Earth's atmosphere and have lost a lot of mass during that process. Meteorites are made up of rock and/or metals.

ACTIVITIES

Take a quiz on meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites.

Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites: Do a fill-in-the-blanks (cloze) activity on meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites. Answers.


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