Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Asteroid and Meteor

asteroidAsteroid vs Meteor
An asteroid is a relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun while a meteor is the light phenomena that takes place when a particle from a comet or asteroid (meteoroid) enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes. It is often also known as a shooting star.

Scientists say some asteroids pass by close to earth while there is also evidence that some hit the earth after surviving their path through the atmosphere. Asteroids that have not dissolved to become meteors and hit the Earth have created craters like the one in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

The Greeks used the term meteor to refer to several atmospheric phenomena including halos, rainbows, halos, shooting stars, bolides etc but modern scientists use the term meteor to refer only to luminous trails like shooting stars, falling stars, fireballs etc. In ancient times meteors were connected to superstitious beliefs and supposed to be created by inflammatory gases in the atmosphere. Meteors display a great dissimilarity in their path as compared to asteroids.

Scientists believe asteroids are remnants from the earliest processes that led to the formation of Earth’s solar system and are usually more than three billion years old. Most asteroids are composed of rocky material but some may include metals like nickel and iron. They can vary in size from small boulders to those with hundreds of miles as diameter. Some asteroids are considered to be burned out comets whose ice covering has either melted or blown off. Asteroids are usually supposed to occupy the Main Asteroid Belt that is the vast area of space between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter.

Meteors are almost a daily phenomena and on a clear night eight to ten shooting stars may be watched by a person. They are more visible in the early mornings and evenings. Twenty million meteors enter the atmosphere every day while an asteroid may pass by the earth once in hundreds or thousands of years.


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