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Comet, Asteroid or Meteor? Difference Between the Celestial Bodies as They All Visit Earth in 2020

News18 image.

News18 image.

Apart from the eagerness to spot meteors, asteroids, or comets in the night sky, do we really know the difference between them all?

The year 2020 has marked the arrival of a number of unexpected guests, both on the Earth and in the universe.

Scientists have been issuing constant warnings and alerts about the passing of various celestial bodies especially the asteroids and comets near our planet Earth, especially this year.

However, apart from the eagerness to spot meteors, asteroids, or comets in the night sky, do we really know the difference between them all?

Here's a handy guide to understand the difference between these celestial bodies:

Asteroid

These can be defined as rocky, yet airless pieces left out after the formation of the planets in our solar system. They are mostly found in the asteroid formed between Mars and Jupiter, orbiting the sun.

Also Read: Gushed at NEOWISE Comet Photos? Here's How You Can Click Your Own in India

Comets

Comets can be called space snowballs, filled with ice and dust from the formation of our solar system, which happened around 4.6 billion years ago. They also orbit around the Sun, just like asteroids. When they move towards the sun, the dust and ice vaporize to form a comet’s tail.

Meteors

When a meteoroid approaches closer to the surface of Earth and enters the atmosphere, it vaporizes to form a meteor, which is visible to us as a streak of light. We often call them the “shooting stars”. However, they are not real stars.

Meteoroids

When one asteroid clashes with another, it can result in the formation of several small pieces, which are known as meteoroids. They can also be formed by the clash of two comets.

Also Read: Asteroid Bigger Than the London Eye to Zoom Past Earth on 24 July, Says NASA

Meteorites

When meteoroids do not vaporize completely in the atmosphere and land on the Earth’s surface like a rock piece, it is known as meteorites.