Let me ask a simple question, whenever you look in the night sky have you ever experienced that sometimes a colorful glowing flash of light passes away from one part of the sky to another or sometimes we see a star that has a tail-like structure.
So, do we exactly know what are those, yes we do know some names like ASTEROID, COMETS, METEORITES, METEORS, METEOR SHOWERS but do we really understand these terms, most of us don’t?
So, let’s see one by one what are these terms and how they are observed in the night sky:-
Asteroids are also known as minor planets of the inner solar system, these are the remains of rocks and stones which didn’t become part of any planet or moon instead they wander in outer space.
Larger asteroids have also been called “PLANETOIDS”.
Asteroids are those rocks that have a diameter length of more than 10 meters.
Asteroids have no trajectory of their own because they are independent on any planet or moon but in some cases, we have observed that it has a trajectory of its own.
Meteoroids are small rocky bodies which are usually seen in outer space, it is generally smaller than asteroids, well in the scientific point of view any outer rock whose diameter is less than 10m are known as Meteoroids.
Now let’s see the most important question as :
What Happens When Asteroids Or Meteoroids Enters Earth’s Atmosphere?
Well, when asteroid or meteoroids enters the earth’s atmosphere because of AERODYNAMIC HEATING it starts heating and because of this it looks like a burning ball of fire in the night sky, and hence it is then termed as “METEORS” or “SHOOTING STARS”.
Comet is an icy and rocky body which when passes close to the Sun, it warms up and because of the excessive heating it begins to glow and release gases in the space, and thus when we view this incident from our earth we see a giant star having a big glowing tail. Comet does have an orbital of its own.
Let’s take an example of the famous comet of our very own solar system which is known as the “HALLEY’S COMET”, It revolves around the sun in an elliptical orbit and it takes nearly 76 years for its one period of revolution around the Sun.
It is sometimes also referred to as “ DIRTY SNOWBALLS”.
Now once in a year or we can say sometimes when our earth passes in an area of an asteroid or meteoroid belt, a huge number of asteroid or meteoroid gets attracted towards our earth due to gravity, and because of this we see a continuous meteor in the night sky, sometimes even 16 meteors can be seen within an hour, so this phenomenon is known as ” METEORS SHOWERS”.
It has been rarely found that when Asteroid or Meteoroid enters the earth’s atmosphere, in maximum cases the rock burns to ashes because of AERODYNAMIC HEATING but sometimes when asteroids are too big in length like take for an example an asteroid of diameter 100km then it has a rare chance that it will reduce to ashes instead, it does get burnt, its size decreases because of excessive heating but it manages to escape the earth’s atmosphere, in that case, it strikes the surface of the earth with huge impact and that costs a great loss to life and money.
So, the asteroids which escape from the earth’s atmosphere and strike the earth’s surface, are known as “METEORITES”.
In simple terms, METEORITES is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid that originates in outer space but manages to survive in its passage through the atmosphere to reach the surface of the earth.
This is a small effort from our side to let u know what is the basic difference between ASTEROIDS, METEOROIDS, METEORS, METEORS SHOWERS & METEORITES.