A compilation of educational materials about asteroids, comets, meteors, and meteorites
What is the difference?
An asteroid is a rocky object that orbits the Sun. Asteroids are smaller than a planet, but they are larger than the pebble-size objects we call meteoroids.
Comets are small icy dirtballs that orbit the Sun; comets are made of ice and dust while asteroids are made of rock).
A meteor is a space rock—or meteoroid—that enters Earth's atmosphere, as it – burns up upon entering Earth’s atmosphere, it creating a streak of light in the sky (often called "shooting stars"). When Earth encounters many meteoroids at once, we call it a meteor shower.
If a meteoroid survives its trip through Earth’s atmosphere and lands on the Earth’s surface, it is called a meteorite.
Banner images above, left to right:
Asteroid Bennu (NASA),
Fireball Meteor over Groningen the Netherlands (Robert Mikaelyan), and Comet 67P (ESA)
Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower as they peak on warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere. The Perseids are active from July 17 to August 24. They will peak on August 11-12, 2021.