Meteors, Asteroids, and Comets, With Pictures
Its easy to mix these three up! Here's some info so you'll never get it wrong again.
Below I've included an image of the asteroid Gaspra, which was the first asteroid ever to be closely approached by a spacecraft, in the year 1991. Gaspra orbits very close to the inner edge of the asteroid belt.
Find more info on the Asteroid belt here:
- Origins of the Solar System- The Solar Nebula Theory
The theory of how our Solar System originated, with information on seldom-discussed objects like the Asteroid Belt, the Kuiper Belt, and the Oort Cloud.
Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites
Try repeating those 3 words 10 times fast.
Meteoroids are chunks of rock , the size of a grain of sand our the size of a large boulder, that are floating around in the solar system.
Meteors are meteoroids that get into the Earth's atmosphere and burn up . These are also called shooting stars. 40,000 tonnes of meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere every day.
Meteorites actually hit the Earth's surface . This happens a lot, but you can't usually see the signs of impacts because so much of our planet is covered by the ocean, and because they're weathered away.
Find information about when to spot the next meteor showers on this site:
- When is the next meteor shower? | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky
Now that the equinox has passed, people are asking about fall meteor showers. When can you watch meteors again in 2011?
Comets are composed of ice, rocks, and dust, and are sometimes called "dirty snowballs".
Short period comets come back in less than 200 years, such as Halley's comet, which comes every 76 years (I'm hoping I'll still be around when it comes back in 2061). You can only see a comet when it is close to the sun. The tail is produced by solar wind, so it is always pointing away from the sun. When comets come around, they bring meteor showers with them. They are beautiful sights.
This is another astronomy hub I've written that has been pretty popular with readers
- Astronomy 101. Phases of the Moon, Lunar Eclipse, Solar Eclipse, and More.
Astronomy basics that will help you navigate through the night sky. Learn how solar and lunar eclipses work, what causes the phases of the moon, along with other very basic astronomical knowledge. Thanks for checking it out!
I LOVE this book
As you may have guessed, I'm a pretty big backyard astronomy geek. I was totally absorbed by this book.