Q:

What are meteors made of?

A:

Quick Answer

Meteors are mostly made up of rock and iron, and they come from either asteroids or comets. When fragments of an asteroid or a comet break off, they are called meteoroids while they travel through space. When a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere, it becomes a meteor.

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Full Answer

If a meteor is large enough to withstand the intense heat of entry into the atmosphere, and it lands on the Earth's surface, it is called a meteorite. Most meteor showers occur as the Earth passes through the debris left over by a passing comet. The Hoba meteorite in southwest Africa is one of the biggest meteorites; it weighs about 119,000 pounds.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some facts about meteors?

    A:

    Meteor is the name given to an object as it falls through the Earth's atmosphere. The same object is called a meteoroid when it's outside the atmosphere and a meteorite when it's found intact on the Earth.

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  • Q:

    Where are most asteroids found?

    A:

    The majority of asteroids that scientists have formally identified reside between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Scientists call this wide swath of space the asteroid belt, and though it contains millions of objects, the combined size of all of the asteroids in the belt is smaller than the Earth’s moon.

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  • Q:

    What are some famous asteroids?

    A:

    Dozens of asteroids orbit throughout the galaxy, but the most famous are those that have impacted the Earth. Asteroids that do are best known by the major craters they leave behind. The Vredefort crater was created by an asteroid nearly two billion years ago in South Africa. The crater has a radius of 118 miles and is believed to be the largest asteroid crater.

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  • Q:

    What are asteroids made of?

    A:

    Asteroid composition varies based on the asteroid's origin. An asteroid can contain rock, metal, clay, silicate, nickel, iron and water. All asteroids are covered in regolith, which is a rocky rubble. Regolith is commonly called space dust.

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