Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home  |   Ask an Astrophysicist  |  
Ask an Astrophysicist

The Question

(Submitted April 09, 1997)

What are meteorites? Any neat facts about meteorites? I am in 3rd grade. I am looking for information about meteorites. Can you tell me a great site or lesson my teacher can use in my class?

The Answer

Rocks in space are called meteoroids, and there are many of these in our solar system -- especially between the planets Mars and Jupiter where there are thousands of big rocks (Asteroids). In addition as comets come near the Sun, (as Hale-Bopp is doing now) chunks of ice and rocks come are blown off by the sun.

These rocks usually they burn up on impact. We see this on Earth as a "shooting star" -- also called a meteor. Sometimes the Earth passes through a bunch of these rocks (perhaps from a long-gone comet), so we see many shooting stars. This is referred to as a meteor shower.

When a large rock hits the earth, it sometime does not completely burn up as it enters the atmosphere. These meteors eventually hit the ground, where they can be found by people on Earth. This is a meteorite.

I searched the World Wide Web for information on meteorites, and I found a nice home page. It is:

Meteors, Meteorites and Impacts
http://www.seds.org/billa/tnp/meteorites.html

Thank you very much for your interest.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Keohane
-- for Imagine the Universe!

Questions on this topic are no longer responded to by the "Ask an Astrophysicist" service. See http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/ask_an_astronomer.html for help on other astronomy Q&A services.

Previous question
Prev
Main topic
Main
Next question
Next

If words seem to be missing from the articles, please read this.

Imagine the Universe! is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
Curator: Meredith Gibb
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2014.
This page last updated: Wednesday, 06-Sep-2006 14:45:24 EDT