Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites

Three terms that are often mistakenly used interchangeably are meteoroids, meteors, and meteorites.Meteoroids are materials orbiting in space and are smaller than asteroids.

Meteors are the streaks we see in the sky, commonly called shooting or falling stars ; also can be fireballs and/or bolides . Most meteor showers are comet “dust” left behind as a comet orbits the sun that Earth runs into this trail of dust as we orbit the sun.

Meteorites are materials that makes it to the surface of a planet, satellite, etc.

“I would more easily believe that (a) Yankee professor would lie than that stones would fall from heaven.”

—Thomas Jefferson (1808)