Question #43 – What is a meteoroid? Is it different from a meteor or a meteorite?
A meteor is a small piece of comet or asteroid that burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. We see it as a streak of light across the night sky. A meteoroid is what this piece of comet or asteroid is called when it is traveling through interplanetary space. If a meteor does not burn up in the Earth's atmosphere and lands on the ground, it becomes a meteorite. Meteorites can be seen at most science museums as well as the Adirondack Sky Center office and classroom.
More information about the difference between meteoroids, meteors and meteorites can be found on this NASA Solar System Exploration page.
|ASC Trustee Jeffrey Miller has seen three pieces of the same iron meteorite that struck the Earth some 50,000 years ago, forming the Barringer Meteor Crater in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. (Left) Museum of Science, Boston MA, July 2007. Meteorite weight: 300 lbs. (Center) Van Vleck Observatory at Wesleyan University, Middletown CT, May 2013. Weight: 370 lbs.; (Right) Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College, Amherst MA, July 2017. Weight: 393 lbs. Photo credit: Jeffrey Miller|