(meteorobs) Definition of a meteor (was Re: Fifth grade science book)

GeoZay at aol.com GeoZay at aol.com
Wed Apr 27 13:43:07 EDT 2005


>>'meteorite' - a piece of solar system material that survives  high-speed 
through earth's atmosphere, to actually reach earth's  surface. May survive
whole, or it may reach the surface as fragments; may hit  ocean or dry land.
Meteorites (impacts) are much rarer than meteors (flashes  of light).

'meteoroid' - a piece of solar system material, orbiting the  sun. May be a
"left-over" from the formation of the solar system, or a piece  of debris
sloughed off by a comet (most common), or resulting from impact of  solar 
bodies with each other (rare). If it happens to intersect with  Earth's orbit
and enter our atmosphere, it will produce a 'meteor'. It may  also 
produce a 'meteorite' - if it is large enough, dense  enough, and slow enough.
Meteoroids range in size from microscopic, to many  meters (yards) across. A
really LARGE (>100m), rocky 'meteoroid' is also  known as an 'asteroid'. A
really TINY (<1mm or so) particle is called a  'micrometeoroid'.<<
What is the object called after a meteoroid has gone thru the meteor phase  
and is into the dark phase of flight...and has yet to hit the ground? :O)
George Zay

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