Although most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, larger meteoroids may strike the Earths surface to create a meteorite. Meteorites are valuable to scientists because they provide clues about our solar system. Many meteorites are from asteroids that formed when the solar system formed (Figure 1.2). A few meteorites are made of rocky material that is thought to have come from Mars when an asteroid impact shot material off the Martian surface and into space. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:




A meteor, such as in Figure 1.1, is a streak of light across the sky. People call them shooting stars but they are actually small pieces of matter burning up as they enter Earths atmosphere from space. Meteors are called meteoroids before they reach Earths atmosphere. Meteoroids are smaller than asteroids and range from the size of boulders down to the size of tiny sand grains. Still smaller objects are called interplanetary dust. When Earth passes through a cluster of meteoroids, there is a meteor shower. These clusters are often remnants left behind by comet tails.

instructional diagrams

No diagram descriptions associated with this lesson


what is a meteor?

a) a shooting star

b) a dying star

-->  c) a rock from space that burns up in earths atmosphere

d) a star being pulled by earths gravity

a meteor appears as

-->  a) a streak of light across the sky.

b) a rock that strikes the ground.

c) dust that flies through the atmosphere.

d) none of these.

a meteor shower is caused when earth

a) travels through the near-earth asteroid belt.

b) travels through the kuiper belt.

c) passes near the moons orbiting debris halo.

-->  d) passes through the remnants of a comets tail.

if an asteroid hits mars, bits can enter earths atmosphere as meteors.

-->  a) true

b) false

meteoroids are meteors that enter earths atmosphere.

a) true

-->  b) false

meteorites are

a) shooting stars

b) meteors from mars

-->  c) meteors that strikes earths surface

d) asteroids captured by earths orbit

scientists believe that some meteorites that are made of rocky material come from __.

a) the sun

-->  b) the moon

c) uranus

d) venus

a meteoroid is dragged toward earth by __ ; it burns up due to __ with the atmosphere.

-->  a) gravity, friction

b) friction, vaporization

c) gravity, vaporization

d) centrifugal force; friction

meteorites from mars and the moon are the only rocks we have from those bodies.

a) true

-->  b) false

many meteorites were formed in the early solar system.

-->  a) true

b) false

diagram questions

No diagram questions associated with this lesson