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Meteorite | Amazing Facts

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35 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Meteorite | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. Meteoroids are found in space while meteors are in Earth’s atmosphere and meteorites are found on ground.
  2. The word meteor comes from a Greek word that means suspended in the air.
  3. Meteoroids vary in size; they can be a small as a grain of sand or as big as a small automobile!
  4. When a meteoroid measures greater than 10 meters in diameter it is called an asteroid.
  5. Meteorites are actually pieces of rock and debris that fall from asteroids, comets and moons. These are fragments and particles that have been caused by collisions.
  6. Although meteors have existed since ancient times, they were not believed to be from our Solar System until 1833.
  7. When meteoroids hit earth’s atmosphere, they burn becoming smaller in size seen as shooting stars. Chunks of meteoroids that do not fully burn on Earth’s atmosphere fall to Earth called meteorites.
  8. Meteorites are not necessarily hot when they reach the Earth. In fact, many meteorites are found with frost on them. A meteorite has been in the near-absolute zero temperature of space for billions of years, so the interior of it is very cold.
  9. Meteors can become visible as high as 120 kilometers above Earth. Meteors can give off various colors when they burn which is associated with their composition.
  10. Meteors that burn brighter than usual are called fireballs. Most fireballs go unseen because they occur over the ocean or during daylight hours.
  11. The appearance of a number of meteors occurring in the same part of the sky over a period of time is called “meteor shower”.
  12. Many meteor showers are associated with comets, which leave behind debris as they orbit through the solar system.  Showers occur when Earth’s orbit crosses the path of a comet’s orbit.
  13. Meteoroid debris lands on Earth every day! However, it usually lands in the sea. There are millions of meteors in the Earth’s atmosphere every day.
  14. If a meteor produces a sound called a sonic boom, it is typically heard seconds after the meteor becomes visible.
  15. Most meteorites are one of three types: stony, stony-iron, or iron. An iron or stony iron was close to the core of an asteroid, while a stony object was closer to the surface.
  16. Large meteorites sometimes land on other planets besides earth, moons and asteroids. The impact causes intense damage forming craters.
  17. Amazingly when a meteoroid hits the atmosphere of the Earth, they can be travelling as fast as 130,000 mph (209,215 km).
  18. The length of the light trail seen depends on the meteoroids elements and dimension. The trail can last a few seconds to 30 minutes.
  19. Amazingly on average, 33 metric tons of meteoroids hit Earth every day, the vast majority of which harmlessly burns up high in the atmosphere, never making it to the ground.
  20. A rocky meteoroid needs to be larger than 25 m before it is likely to make it through the earth’s atmosphere and cause any damage. It needs to be larger than a kilometer or two before there will be any global effects.
  21. The largest Meteorite found on Earth was discovered in Namibia, Africa in 1920 which was named Hoba. The meteorite measures 2.7m wide, 2.7m deep, 0.9 m high weighing 60 tons! Amazingly it left no crater at all as earth’s atmosphere slowed it to the point of terminal velocity. It has been declared a National Monument and is one of the rare meteorites that is also part of a tourist site. It possibly fell about 80,000 years ago.  It is mostly iron, with some nickel and other trace elements.
  22. Certain meteorites have crystalline pattern called Widmanstätten pattern that forms only in outer space and cannot be duplicated here on earth.
  23. Most scientists believe that a colossal 8-mile-long meteor crashed into earth 65 million years ago causing devastating changes to the earth and climate resulting in extinction of dinosaurs. It created a dust cloud so huge, it blocked out sunlight for up to a year.
  24. Excavation made by the researchers south of Cairo found strings of iron beads that they dated to an era thousands of years before Egypt’s Iron Age. It was concluded that the ancient Egyptians used these as jewelry and the iron came from meteorites.
  25. Meteoroids often cause damage to satellites, space craft and space probes too.
  26. There have only been two confirmed cases of humans being hit by a meteorite. Ann Hodges was the first person to be hit by a meteorite in 1954. Statistically, there is a better chance of getting hit by a tornado, a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time.
  27. Meteorites that fell to Earth during a meteor shower in July of 2011 have been confirmed to be from Mars which were discovered in Morocco.
  28. Satellites are programmed to avoid meteorites so that they don’t get hit and destroyed. Of over 8,000 satellites orbiting the Earth, only one has ever been hit and destroyed by a meteorite.
  29. Meteorites may be responsible for life beginning on the earth. Before life developed on earth, meteorites that fell on the earth brought reduced phosphorus. This allowed oxidation to phosphates, which provided a mechanism for the generation of DNA and RNA, a precursor for life on earth.
  30. Russia has a cache of trillions of dollars’ worth of industrial grade meteor crater diamonds that are twice as hard as jewelry grade ones.
  31. An ancient statue that was recovered by a Nazi expedition to Tibet in the 1930s was originally carved from a highly valuable Chinga meteorite, which crashed about 15,000 years ago.
  32. Amazingly on March 17, 2013 a meteor impacted the Moon, creating an explosion visible to the naked eye from Earth.
  33. There’s a town in Kentucky that was built inside a 3 mile wide meteorite crater. This is the only town in US built entirely inside a crater.
  34. The Allende Meteorite fell to Earth in a fireball on February 8, 1969.  It was originally about the size of a car, and pieces were strewn across the Mexican state of Chihuahua. It has become one of the most-studied meteorites of all time dating back to the formation of the Sun and Planets 4.6 Billion Years ago.
  35. The Willamette Meteorite is the largest meteorite ever found in the United States at 15.5 tons and stands ten feet tall. It is a pitted iron meteorite which is believed to be the remains of the iron core of a planet destroyed in a collision billions of years ago. It landed around 1,000 years ago and was discovered by Westerners in 1902. 

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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