Presentation on theme: "Meteors and Comets Meteors On a clear night, one can see “shooting stars”. These are not stars, but meteors. They are debris and dirt particles from outer."— Presentation transcript:
Meteors and Comets Meteors On a clear night, one can see “shooting stars”. These are not stars, but meteors. They are debris and dirt particles from outer space (Pieces of rock that may come from a star or another heavenly body) that have strayed into the earth’s atmosphere. They are the only members of the solar system that do not orbit anything The earth or any other planet attracts meteors by their gravity, but as they fall to the earth, they burn up in the atmosphere and look just like a shooting star
If they are big enough, they will not totally burn up and will hit the earth. Meteors that survive are called METEORITES Meteorites can cause damage. When they hit the earth they create CRATERS, just like on the moon. The earth has been hit by millions of meteorites in the past, their craters have eroded away. If it wasn’t for the atmosphere, the meteors would not burn up before they hit us and if they did hit us there would be no erosion and the earth would be full of craters like the moon
A meteor impact created the circular basin occupied by Lake Manicouagan in the Canadian Shield (Quebec), 214 million years ago. The original crater was 100 km in diameter.
Comets They are members of the solar system Their orbit around the sun in very eccentric orbits Most comets actually leave our solar system. Some exist in the Kuiper Belt just outside of Pluto When comets are close to the sun, we on Earth can see them as small balls of light each with a long tail streaming out behind A comet is made out of two parts: a) Head b) Tail
‘Head’ is made up of billions of particles of dust and rock and it shines by reflected light. ‘Tail’ is made up of gas and gives off its own light and it points away from the sun due to the pressure of solar winds. The most famous comet is Haley's Comet. In 1705 Edmund Haley predicted that a comet seen in 1531, 1607, and 1682 would return in 1758. He was right. Halley’s Comet passes by the earth every 76 years. The last time it did was in 1986.