Here is the link to the video: http://www.abc.net.au/btn/story/s3693796.htm
On the 26/2/2013, a massive meteor explosion took place right over Russia. The same day an asteroid passed really close to earth, though these 2 events weren’t linked. This article is about the difference between asteroids, meteors and comet.
We live on the planet earth, and the way we live is pretty decent. There’s water, oxygen, the weather isn’t too cold or too hot, we can breathe fresh air and create buildings, and we can even have picnics! But were not the only planet or rock out there in our solar system, and that’s where asteroids, comets and meteors come in.
This meteor that hit Russia was in the Ural Mountains and it no one expected it. It strike through the atmosphere and exploded above a city called Chelyabinsk. The force it made was 20 times bigger than an atomic bomb, but since it was so high in the sky the effects on ground weren’t devastating. But the shockwave blew out the windows, damaged buildings and injured more than a thousand people. As this event occurred, astronomers watched an asteroid half the size of a football field passed closely by earth.
These 2 events weren’t connected at all, but they did get people talking about what’s really going on in space. See, there are more things in our solar system than the planets that orbit the sun. There are chunks of dust, rock and ice in our solar system (which are the leftovers from the process that formed the planets billions of years ago). These are called asteroids, meteoroids and comets.
Comets are chunks of ice and dust which are from the cold outer parts of the solar system. When they get close to the sun they start to melt, therefore giving off a gas that looks like a beautiful glowing trail.
Asteroids are normally made of rock or metal. Tens of thousands of them are located in an area in the solar system called the asteroid belt (which is between Mars and Jupiter) but some travel closer to Earth.
Meteoroids are a smaller version of asteroids, and millions of them hit the Earth’s atmosphere every day. When they enter the atmosphere, we change the name to meteors. Most meteors burn up really quickly when they hit the atmosphere, and if you’ve ever seen a shooting star, that’s a meteor.
This meteor that flew over Paris was bigger than most meteors, and because it was made of the things it was made of, it didn’t explode straight away. It exploded when it hit thicker air, and this has happened in Russia before. In 1908, scientists believe that a massive meteor exploded above a place called Tunguska. Nothing from the meteor reached the ground, but the force of it knocked down kilometers of trees. But when a meteor does hit the round, we call it a meteorite.
When we do get meteorites, they can be very valuable. This is because they give more knowledge to scientist to find out what’s going on in space, and to be able to touch a rock from space that is billions of years old, it would be amazing!
Damaging meteor/meteorites events on earth are rare, but they can happen. A lot of scientist believe that one reason why the dinosaurs became extinct (over 66 million years ago) was because of a meteorite. But scientist also believe that this type of event will probably not happen in our lifetime again, so humans are in no danger of meteors/meteorites. This is for astronomers spend a lot of time studying comets and asteroids, and finding things out like where they’re heading. Some can even send robotic spacecraft to study them up close, and they have different ways to protect the planet if one got to close. But these amazing comets, meteors and asteroids have a lot to teach us, and will teach us more about the ancient history of our solar system than ever in history.
An understanding I now have is:
Meteors, asteroids and comets are clearly linked but are they own different things, though we also could expand our knowledge on them (especially comets and asteroids).
2 questions I have are:
- What different ways can the robotic spacecraft (sent by astronomers) protect our planet?
- What equipment do astronomers, or even scientists, have to find out this information (besides the spacecraft)?