Space is the boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction. There are many objects in the space that are still mysterious. Recently, we have been constantly hearing about the asteroids, meteoroids and comets. Well, it won’t be wrong to say if any of these celestial bodies hit Earth, than the existence of humans will be in danger. Though asteroids, comets and meteors have different characteristics and different sizes, it’s not easy to for astronomers to differentiate between these three celestial bodies.
Therefore, News Nation brings to you the difference between asteroids, comets and meteors and also the RAESON why they are hard to identify:
Before indulging in details, it is worth mentioning here that most of the differences between asteroids, comets and meteors are in what they are made of and size.
An asteroid is a small rocky object that orbits the earth. Sometimes asteroids crash into another asteroid and small pieces break off. These small pieces are meteoroids.
Asteroids in our solar system are found between Mars and Jupiter which is called as ‘Main Belt’. They can also be located around the solar system as some asteroids orbit the sun in a path that takes them close to earth. Asteroids, if hit Earth, can bring Earthquakes too. Asteroids is made of rock or metal. Typically, asteroids are larger than 10 meters in diameter.
A small rocky or metal object, usually between the size of a grain of sand or a boulder, orbits the sun. It originates from a comet or asteroid. When a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere, it vaporizes and turns into a meteor. Well, this is what we see as a streak of light in the sky. Meteors are sometimes mistaken as shooting stars but they are just tiny pieces of rock.
On the other hand, some meteoroids are not entirely vaporized and they survive the journey to earth and land as rocks. These rocks are called meteorites.
A body of ice dust that can be several miles in diameter and orbits the sun. Debris from comets is the source of many meteoroids. Comets orbit the sun, like asteroids. When comets makes its journey around the sun, the ice and dust start to vaporize. That vaporized ice and dust, is what we sometimes see as the comets tail. Comets can be seen when they are far from earth.