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Comets, asteroids, and meteors oh my!
What is the difference? Well you are
about to find out!
• Called “dirty snowballs”
• Chunks of ice and dust whose orbits are
usually very long, narrow ellipses.
– Ellipses are elongated narrow circles
– Think of it as a squashed oval.
• About the size of a mountain, so rather large
• We don’t see them very often.
• Comet in Greek means “long-haired star”
Comets continued
• There are three parts to a comet:
– NUCLEUS is the inner most layer of a
– COMA is the outer layer of gas and dust
– TAIL formed from the gas being pushed
Comet pictures
Comet picture
Comet picture
Famous Comet
• Halley’s comet
– Seen once only 76 years
– Last seen in 1986
– Next time we will see Halley’s comet will be
around 2062 this is a prediction
• Too small and too numerous to be planets
• Common in the in the inner solar system
• Chunks of rock and metal, no tail like a
• There is an asteroid belt
– This belt is located between Mars and
Asteroid picture
• Question, how many of you have seen
“shooting stars”?
• Meteoroid a chunk of rock or dust in space.
– Usually come from comets or asteroids
– When a meteoroid hits Earth’ atmosphere
it has friction and burns up.
• The burning is the streak that you see
across the sky a meteor.
Meteors continued
• If a meteoroid is large enough, all of it may
not burn up in the atmosphere.
– The pieces that hit the Earth’s atmosphere
are called meteorites.
– Meteorites fall all over Earth.
Meteor shower pictures