What Are Meteors Made Of

Last Updated on July 31, 2021 by Neil Mackengie

Meteors also called  “shooting stars”,  have long been a mystery to man. Today, astronomers feel they have a pretty good idea of what meteors are. They believe them to be broken fragments of comets. When comets break up, the millions of fragments continue to move through space like a meteor swarm or stream. The swarms move in regular orbits, or paths, through space. Some of the larger fragments may become detached and travel through space singly.

Meteors

Most individual meteors are quite small, but occasionally there are some that weigh many tonnes. They are usually destroyed entirely by heat when they pass through the earth’s atmosphere. Only the larger ones reach the earth. When a piece of meteor reaches the earth it is called a “meteorite”. The largest one found so far weighs between 60 and 70 tonnes and is still in its resting place in Africa.

There are two main kinds of meteorites. There are those composed chiefly of nickel and iron. These are called “metallic” meteorites. are composed of minerals and look like a piece of igneous rock (rock formed by intense heat). These are called the “stony’ meteorites or “aerolites”. The outer surfaces of either kind are usually black crusts which are the result of the terrific heat experienced in passing through the atmosphere to earth.

What Are Meteors Made Of

Most meteoroids are made of silicon and oxygen (minerals called silicates) and heavier metals like nickel and iron.

Where do meteors come from?

The simplest explanation for meteors is that they come from space objects that have entered the Earth’s atmosphere. But this explanation is not enough to account for all the evidence we have. There are many theories about the origin of meteors. We will start with the simplest explanation and then move to the more complex ones.

How many meteors hit Earth every year?

500 meteorites

How big are meteors that hit Earth?

You may be wondering: How big are meteors that hit Earth? Well, the answer is: it depends. The size of a meteor that hits Earth depends on several factors, including its origin, the strength of the Earth’s gravity, and the speed at which it is descending towards our planet. For instance, a meteoroid the size of a grain of rice could weigh up to 150 tons, though most are smaller.

What type of meteorite is the rarest?

In addition, the rarest is a meteorite that is composed of a special type of iron, known as FeNi metal. Fissures or veins in this meteorite often lead to meteorite fragments with a few extra, small, dark minerals, made of nickel and cobalt.

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