Meteors - What is a meteor? Do meteors come from outer space? Can I see a meteor?
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Meteors

Meteor
Meteor

July 2016 - Meteors or meteorites are bits of rock (like granite) and ice - usually a mixture of rock and iron and nickel but sometimes just rock or just iron - from out in space that get sucked into the gravity of the Earth and fall through our atmosphere to the ground. Usually this is because a comet has passed close enough to the Earth for Earth's gravity to grab some of its material. A meteor is the same thing as a shooting star or a falling star - they're not really falling stars, but some people call them that.

Meteors look like stars as they fall because when they hit Earth's atmosphere the friction of the rock rubbing against the atmosphere causes heat and light, like a fire. This heat melts all the ice off the meteor.

Most meteors are tiny, the size of pebbles, and most of them fall into the ocean, because more of the Earth is ocean than there is land. Even if they fall on land, these tiny meteors don't do any harm. Sometimes, though, much larger meteors do fall to Earth. One really huge meteor, about eight miles across, smashed into the Earth about 65 million years ago, where it made a huge crater and sent thousands of tons of dust up into the air. Because of this meteor, Earth got much cooler for a while, and most of the dinosaurs died.

Learn by doing - a project with meteors
More about space

Bibliography and further reading about meteors:

Stars
Planets
Space
Physics
Quatr.us home


LIMITED TIME OFFER FOR TEACHERS: Using this article with your class? Show us your class page where you're using this article, and we'll send you a free subscription so all your students can use Quatr.us Study Guides with no distractions! (Not a teacher? Paid subscriptions are also available for just $16/year!)
Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article

Does your class page honor diversity, celebrate feminism, and support people of color, LBGTQ people, and people with disabilities? Let us know, and we'll send you a Diversity Banner you can proudly display!
Looking for more?
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 29 April, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT