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Meteors

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Last month, a rock the size of a school bus struck the earth’s atmosphere. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but a sonic boom and crater stirred up our curiosity  Here are some links and videos about meteors and meteorites:

1. What’s the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?  At Live Science  you can learn that a meteor is an asteroid (or any other object) that starts burning when it hits the Earth’s atmosphere. Meteors are often called “shooting stars,” and they are common. It is much less common for one to survive the plunge through the atmosphere to hit the ground. But if it does it’s called a meteorite.

2. What are Meteorites made of?  At http://www.meteorites.com.au/meteorite.html you can see a collection of meteorites that have landed in Australia. You’ll learn they are made up of very dense iron and rock, and are often magnetic. Watch the video at http://bit.ly/YdghOG to learn more.

3. How big was the meteor that streaked over Russia? According to NASA, http://1.usa.gov/Z6hREq the meteor that crashed into the Ural Mountains in February 2013 was about 55 feet in diameter and weighed 10,000 tons. That’s about the size of a bus and weighs as much as 1,660 elephants. But it was no match for the Earth’s atmosphere, which smashed it to bits, with a huge explosion. Read more at Yahoo News: http://yhoo.it/Yt3iL8

4. Are there any craters on Earth?   At http://geology.com/meteor-impact-craters.shtml you can see a satellite view of some of the best-known craters. One of the most famous is Meteor Crater, near Winslow, Arizona. The crater was created instantly when a 50-meter meteorite slammed into the desert about 50,000 years ago.

5. Should I worry about getting hit? You can relax. The chances of your house being hit by a meteor are about 1 in 2,745,337,045,030 according to a real estate blog, at http://bit.ly/10MhtuO You’d have a better chance of winning the lottery twice!

5. Has anyone ever been hit by a Meteorite? At the Encyclopedia of Alabama http://bit.ly/WLaEa4 you can read about a woman who was sleeping on her couch when a grapefruit sized meteor crashed through her roof and hit her on the hip. She wasn’t hurt. In Germany, a 14 yr old boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized in meteor, according to the Telegraph http://bit.ly/YdvPlD. He was cut on his hand, but other than that wasn’t hurt.

APPLICATION:

How do you tell if a rock fell from outer space? Meteorites are more rare than gold or diamonds At Geology.com  you can see what they look like. Here’s a starter list:

  • Magnetic. A metal detector helps to find them.
  • Look molten on the surface.
  • Heavy. They’re made of a lot of iron an/or nickel. A softball-sized iron meteorite will weigh up to five pounds

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Filed in: Astronomy, History

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