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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Sky Is Falling!

No, it isn't, but crap from outer space tends to fall into our atmosphere. We call this crap a meteor. Don't worry, it isn't composed of literal crap. Meteors are mostly composed of iron and stones (sometimes they have BOTH). But let's complicate things. Technically, that clump of space stuff is called a meteoroid while it is wandering through space. It doesn't become a meteor until it enters our atmosphere. Once it lands, it's called a meteorite. So, let's try to remember these terms.


This is a clump of space rock hurling through the galaxy. It leads a cold and lonely existence and can sometimes be seen with the help of a telescope. We can remember this term by thinking that the oid part of meteoroid sounds alien to us...and aliens are from space...just like a meteoroid.


The space clump has entered the atmosphere and is starting to get hot. It may just burn up and die. This is the easiest term to remember because a bunch of falling meteors is called a meteor shower. That's a term we are used to. Meteors are also sometimes called falling stars but this is an inaccurate portrayal and is considered offensive to most meteors.


These are the clumps that actually make contact with the earth. They hang out, cleverly disguised as rocks (one could argue that they are rocks, but again, that is offensive to meteorites), until they are found by someone. If that someone is a child, that meteorite may fly once again and then crash into the neighbors window. If a scientist finds it, the meteorite might just get named and put on display somewhere. Or it might get sold. Whatever.

Meteoroid meteor meteorite


  1. We had a meteorite in my home town once. It was pretty much all the town was known for haha. There was even a street named "Meteorite street" and a big notice board about it, I don't even know if I was born when it happened. Shows how exciting my hometown is lol.

  2. My home city is known for being the first corporate-planned community. That, and having an anteater as our college mascot. There is definitely an anteater street. The street that I live on is known for a murder...so that sucks. I don't think they will call it Murder Street though.