Comets, Meteors and Asteroids

Topics: Comet, Sun, Solar System Pages: 3 (961 words) Published: September 22, 2013
Comet-A comet is a relatively small solar system body that orbits the Sun. When close enough to the Sun they display a visible coma (a fuzzy outline or atmosphere due to solar radiation) and sometimes a tail. Asteroid-Asteroids are small solar system bodies that orbit the Sun. Made of rock and metal, they can also contain organic compounds. Asteroids are similar to comets but do not have a visible coma (fuzzy outline and tail) like comets do.  They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones. Asteroids are small, airless rocky worlds revolving around the sun that are too small to be called planets. They are also known as planetoids or minor planets. In total, the mass of all the asteroids is less than that of Earth's moon. But despite their size, asteroids can be dangerous. Many have hit Earth in the past, and more will crash into our planet in the future. That's one reason scientists study asteroids and are eager to learn more about their numbers, orbits and physical characteristics. Meteor-A meteoroid that burns up as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere is known as a meteor. If you’ve ever looked up at the sky at night and seen a streak of light or ‘shooting star’ what you are actually seeing is a meteor. A meteoroid is a piece of stone-like or metal-like debris which travels in outer space. Most meteoroids are no bigger than a pebble. If a meteoroid falls into the Earth's atmosphere, it will begin to heat up and start to glow. This is called a meteor. If you have ever seen a "falling star", you were actually seeing a meteor. Most of the original object burns up before it strikes the surface of the Earth. Any leftover part that does strike the Earth is called a meteorite. A meteorite can make a hole, or crater, in the ground when it hits it. The larger the meteorite, the bigger the hole. Nucleus: The nucleus is the frozen center of a comet's head. It is composed of ice, gas, and dust. The nucleus contains most of the comet's mass but is...
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