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What’s The Difference Between Asteroids, Meteors, and Comets?

Doomsday Asteroid
Hemera

Normally, we are used to seeing water, snow, and sometimes ice falling from the sky.  But what’s the deal with all this talk on asteroids and meteors?  Many probably wonder what is the exact difference between all of these different types of space matter.  Here’s the rundown:

  • A comet is a relatively small solar system body that orbits the sun with a fuzzy outline or atmosphere and a tail when it is near the sun.
  • Asteroids are like comets, but they do not have an “atmosphere” or a tail.
  • A meteoroid is a mini-asteroid or small space debris.
  • A meteor is a meteoroid that burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • A meteorite is a meteoroid that survives the Earth’s atmosphere and reaches the Earth’s surface.

So, that space rock in Russia?  That’s a meteorite.  The space rock flying past Earth?  That’s an asteroid.

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