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  • We all know space rocks, but what about the rocks in space?

  • Asteroids, comets and meteors are hurtling through the solar system.

  • So how do you tell them apart and which rocks could hit our planet?

  • Comets pass near Earth, but they never make it to the surface.

  • These cosmic snowballs form overtime in the outer reaches of the solar system and are made up of ice, rock and metal.

  • If a comet gets too close to the sun, some of the ice heats up and turns into a gas, creating a glowy layer and that famous tail.

  • If a comet were to shed its ice, it'd become an asteroid. Meh.

  • These space rocks can be as big as an entire country or as small as a chihuahua head.

  • Most of the time, you can find them hanging out in the asteroid belt, a rocky superhighway between Mars and Jupiter.

  • Pieces of rock that break off asteroids and comets are called meteoroids.

  • When a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere, it burns up and causes friction that results in a light phenomena.

  • The streak of light is known as a meteor or a shooting star.

  • And if a meteoroid lands on Earth's surface, ah runaway, it becomes a meteorite.

  • So the next time you're gazing at the sky and see a shooting star, you'll know exactly what it is and exactly what it isn't.

  • You can catch more episodes of Galactic Glossary every Wednesday, and to learn more about space rocks, like the one that triggered the demise of the dinosaurs, check out this video here.

  • Thanks for watching and let us know what you think in the comments below.

We all know space rocks, but what about the rocks in space?

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Asteroids, Comets & Meteors: What's the Difference?

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    April Lu posted on 2019/05/04
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