Meteorite

Meteorite, Solid debris from outer space that hits a planetary surface.

Meteorite image

A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid, that originates in outer space and survives its passage through the atmosphere to reach the surface of a planet or moon. When the original object enters the atmosphere, various factors such as friction, pressure, and chemical interactions with the atmospheric gases cause it to heat up and radiate energy. It then becomes a meteor and forms a fireball, also known as a shooting star or falling star; astronomers call the brightest examples "bolides". Once it settles on the larger body's surface, the meteor becomes a meteorite. Meteorites vary greatly in size.
This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia® - the free encyclopedia created and edited by its online user community. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.