meteor, meteoroid, meteorite


Inspired by Phil Plait:

A meteor is what you see when you watch a meteor shower: a streak of light. The really bright ones are called bolides or fireballs.

A meteoroid is any object moving through space that is larger than a speck of dust but smaller than an asteroid. When a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere, it is heated to luminosity; when we see it shooting across the sky, we call it a meteor. While watching the Perseid meteor shower one year, I wondered how big the Perseid meteoroids are. (I imagined them to be the size of apples or softballs.) The majority of meteoroids we see as meteors range from the size of a small pebble to the size of a grain of sand.

A meteorite is a meteoroid that was big or tough enough to survive the journey through the atmosphere and strike the surface of the Earth. Or the living room couch of Ann Hodges of Sylacauga, AL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s