Aug. 31, 2018

A meteor, believed to have been part of an asteroid, passed close to Earth, over Perth, Australia.

 A Brief Overview of Meteor Terminology:

  • Asteroids: Asteroids, also known as planetoids, are objects that orbit the sun, too small to be a dwarf planet, but large enough to get their own identity.

  • Meteoroids: These are rocks, orbiting the sun, smaller than asteroids (basically, anything smaller than 10-meters). Many of them burn up in Earth’s atmosphere on entry.

  • Meteors: When an asteroid/meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere, it becomes a meteor (also known as a shooting star). Friction from Earth’s atmosphere causes most meteors to burn up.

  • Fireballs: If a meteor is ‘unusually bright’ it is known as a fireball. A fireball is caused by friction from Earth’s atmosphere – it’s just a bigger rock so it burns brighter.

  • Bolides: A bolide is a fireball that explodes in midair.

  • Meteorite: For those meteors, fireballs, bolides, or fragments there of that survive the trip through the atmosphere and impact the Earth, they become meteorites. A meteorite is basically any non-terrestrial rock that has reached earth.