Facts about Meteoroids

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Present in space, its entry into the earth’s atmosphere results in spectacular sights in the sky.
While sometimes disappearing back into the sky after a mystifying event in the sky, these components of space may also land on earth leave a huge hollow dent on the surface of earth.

Well, by now you may have guessed that this object from space is nothing but a meteoroid.

Here are 10 facts about meteoroids.

1) What is a Meteoroid?
A Meteoroid is a natural solid object moving in an interplanetary space .It can be a small grain or as big as 1m in size. When a meteoroid enters the earth’s surface at very high speed (45 to 70 km/hour), it results in aerodynamic heating. This heating produces light both from the object and also from the particles that are left behind. This is called meteor or shooting star.

2) What are meteoroids mainly made up of?
They are mostly made up of Iron and Nickel. Depending on their composition, they are classified in to three types: iron, stones and stony-irons. Some of the stony meteoroids contain inclusions that are like grains called chondrules. These are called chondrites. Stony chondrites that lack these grains are called achondrites.

3) Are Meteorites similar to Meteoroids?
A Meteoroid surviving its fall in the atmosphere, entering the earth and reaching the ground is called a Meteorite. Many of these Meteorites fall in to the ocean. However, there are a few that fall in land.

4) What are Micrometeoroids?
Some of the Meteoroids are as small as a speck of dust. These are usually referred to as Micrometeoroids or space dust.

5) What are falls and finds?
Meteorites can sometimes be observed while they are falling in the earth and recovered. These are called falls. Some of them are found only later and hence are called finds. So far they have collected approximately 1000 falls and 40000 finds.

6) What are Meteorite showers?
While a comet orbits around the sun, it gives out dust and small rocks from its tail. These form a trail when the comet moves. When the earth orbits around the sun, it passes these trails and the particles of material are taken up by the earth’s atmosphere. These appear as Meteorite showers. Meteor showers have names and these are derived from the constellation they are located from. For e.g., Perseids come from Perseus. There are roughly 30 to 40 meteor shower that are observed every year.

7) Meteors are colorful.

Meteors observed are sometimes seen in different colors like red, yellow or green trails. These colors are due to ionization of molecules.

8) What are fire balls?
Some of the Meteoroids get into the earth’s surface and fly out again. These are called earth grazing fireballs. A fire ball can sometimes be brighter than planet Venus.

9) A meteoroid more than 10 m in diameter, is called an asteroid.

10) According to a study, a human will be hit by a meteorite once every 180 years.

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