By Miller R.

While one technology fiction writer known as the asteroids "ten thousand fleas at the lifeless puppy of night," he was once merely reflecting the fail to remember astronomers as soon as had for those mysterious objects-most of which have been thought of little greater than nuisances. at the present time, astronomers have a complete new appreciate for asteroids, comets, and meteors. The collision of an asteroid with Earth can have spelled the tip of the dinosaurs-and a destiny collision may well finish lifestyles as we all know it on our planet. Likewise, the icy mounds known as comets aren't simply infrequent, sleek apparitions within the evening sky, they're one of the finest gadgets within the sunlight process, might be conserving clues to the beginning of the sun approach itself. This publication explores those little-known yet interesting denizens of outer house.

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Extra info for Asteroids, Comets and Meteors

Sample text

A comet is therefore composed of three parts: a nucleus, which is the dirty iceberg itself; then when the comet nears the (43) The parts of a typical comet: Even though the coma and tail can be enormous—the tail potentially millions of miles long—the nucleus is a very tiny object only a few miles across, which is too small to be seen at this scale. Earth is shown next to the comet for comparison. Sun and begins to warm up, a thin, wispy coma, which can grow to be larger than Jupiter; and a vast tail, which can be many millions of miles long.

Many were not the right color for the materials scientists thought they were made of. Rocky asteroids were darker and redder than they should be, implying that they had more iron in their makeup than expected. This ultrathin coating of metal fooled astronomers into thinking the asteroid was made of more iron than it really is. NEAR Shoemaker ended its mission by gently touching down on Eros in February 2001—the first spacecraft to make a landing To someone standing on one side of the “saddle,” the opposite side would seem to rise like a wall straight up into the sky.

In the vast deep freeze beyond Pluto, where most comets originate, sunlight is far too weak to provide any warmth, and a comet’s ice is frozen as hard as steel. This gas forms a kind of atmosphere around the comet called a coma. As the comet becomes warmer and warmer, the coma grows larger, eventually becoming hundreds and even thousands of miles wide. This is also caused by the Sun. Light pressure and the solar wind carry gas and dust away from the coma in a direction away from the Sun. Contrary to appearance, a comet’s tail isn’t always streaming out behind it.

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