8th April 2011 Notes: Meteors and Meteorites and Fireballs

Often you hear people refer to a meteorite as a meteor but there is a big difference between the two. A meteorite is a piece or rock and/or metal  that has broken off an asteroid or a comet and can range from small pebbles to massive boulders. These survive passage through the atmosphere and impact with the ground.

Meteors on the other hand are fine particles of dust or small particles of rock originating from a comet’s tail and these appear as a fast streak of light as they burn up in the atmosphere never reaching the ground.

So the big difference is that meteorites reach the ground while meteors do not.

A fireball as shown in the picture below is a brighter than usual meteor which was taken a few days ago as it broke up in the atmosphere. The green color is due to metal particles burning up .

Fireball Spotted from 2 Nights Ago

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~ by sydneystargazers on April 8, 2011.

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