Science

Difference Between Asteroid and Meteoroid

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Main Difference

The main difference between Asteroid and Meteoroid is that Asteroid is a star-like minor planet, whereas Meteoroid is the falling star that looks like a streak of light in the sky.

Asteroid vs. Meteoroid

The asteroid is a small star-like body that is also called a minor planet or planetoid. On the flip side, a meteoroid is a falling star that looks like a streak of light in the sky. These two are the bodies that orbit around the sun in our solar system but are not large enough like planets.

Asteroid got its name by its discoverer and is also numbered officially after the accurate determination of its orbital elements. On the other side, the meteoroid is not so significant to get named. An asteroid usually made up of rocky substance, and some are also composed of nickel and iron whereas, a meteoroid made up of rocky substance with metals on its outer surface. The asteroid is a larger rocky body with size 1 to more than 100 kilometers in diameter. On the flip side, a meteoroid is a smaller body with a size range of fewer than 10 meters in diameter.

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It believed that asteroids originated from the remanents of planets that fell apart. On the other side, the meteoroids are supposed to originate from the disintegration of the comet. The asteroid follows elliptical orbit such that its distance from the sun does not differ very much. On the flip side, the meteoroid also has elliptical orbit but get pulled easily into larger bodies like planets due to its mass.

The asteroid does not have any atmosphere, but it exerts a gravitational pull due to its enormous size. On the other hand, the meteoroid also does not produce the atmosphere and burn up before falling on any other surface. The hitting of an asteroid would have a significant impact on the earth. According to scientists, it will cause a significant change in the climate and diversity of the affected area. On the other side, meteoroid does not cause a significant impact when it falls on earth. Mostly it burns up before hitting the ground or falls into the ocean as the considerable portion of the earth consists of oceans.

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Comparison Chart

AsteroidMeteoroid
A solid object, moving in the solar system that has a size smaller then planets but more extensive than meteoroids, is known as an asteroid.A solid object, moving in the solar system that has a size smaller then asteroid but larger than an atom, is known as a meteoroid.
Nomenclature
Asteroid got its name by its discoverer.The meteoroid is not so significant to get named.
Also Known As
The asteroid is also called a planetoid or a minor planet.There is no other name for meteoroid.
Origin
It believed to originate from the remanents of planets that fell apart.The meteoroids believed to be originated from the disintegration of the comet.
Composition
It usually made up of rocky substances, but some are also composed of nickel and iron.It made up of rocky substances with metals on its outer surface.
Size
It is a larger body with size 1 to more than 100 kilometers in diameter.It is a smaller body with a size range of fewer than 10 meters in diameter.
Orbit
It follows elliptical orbit such that its distance from the sun does not differ very much.It also has elliptical orbit but gets pulled easily into larger bodies like planets due to its mass.
Atmosphere
The asteroid does not have any atmosphere.The meteoroid also does not produce an atmosphere
Gravitational Pull
It exerts a gravitational pull due to its enormous size.It does not have gravitational pull and burns up before falling on any other surface.
Impact on Earth
The hitting of an asteroid would cause a major impact on the earth with a change in the climate and diversity of the affected area.It does not cause a major impact as it mostly burns up before hitting the ground or fall into the ocean as the major portion of the earth consists of oceans.
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What is Asteroid?

The asteroid is a solid object moving in the solar system with a size smaller than planets but larger than meteoroids. It is a little star-like body that is also called a minor planet or planetoid. Asteroid got its name by its discoverer and is also numbered officially after the accurate determination of its orbital elements. It is believed that asteroids originated from the remanents of planets that fell apart. Asteroids are very abundant in our solar system. They are mostly present in the asteroid belt that exists between Mars and Jupiter.

Asteroids usually made up of rocky substances, but according to the latest research, some are also composed of nickel and iron. It is a larger rocky body with size 1 to more than 100 kilometers in diameter. They follow elliptical orbit such that their distance from the sun does not differ very much. But, sometimes, their orbit altered, and they get closer to sun and earth. They do not have any atmosphere, but they exert a gravitational pull due to its enormous size. Some of the asteroids have their moon.

Due to its large size, the hitting of an asteroid would have a major impact on the earth. According to scientists, it will cause a major change in the climate and diversity of the affected area. They believe that about 65 million years ago, an asteroid of the size of the San Francisco Bay hit the earth at the location of present-day Mexico. As a result of this hitting, there was a great change in climatic conditions that caused the decline of many large animals, including dinosaurs, etc.

Nowadays, there is less threat related to asteroid impacts. According to NASA, it estimated that an asteroid of the size of automobiles enters the atmosphere of the earth about once a year. Here, it creates a notable fireball and degenerates before reaching the surface. According to the history of the earth, after every 5,000 years, an object of the size of a football field collides with earth and causes a major loss.

What is Meteoroid?

A meteoroid is a solid object moving in the solar system with a size smaller then asteroid but larger than an atom. It is the falling star that looks like a streak of light in the sky. Most of the meteoroids that enter into the atmosphere of the earth are so small in size that they vaporize and never reach the surface of the planet. During their burning process, they create a beautiful streak of light that is called as a meteor or sometimes as a shooting star. The meteoroids believed to originate from the disintegration of the comet.

The meteoroid made up of rocky substance with metals on its outer surface. It is a smaller body with a size range between millimeters to less than 10 meters in diameter. It also has elliptical orbit but gets pulled easily into larger bodies like planets due to its mass. The meteoroid also does not produce the atmosphere.

Mostly, meteoroids are harmless. They burn up before falling on any other surface. They do not cause a major impact as they mostly burn up before hitting the ground or fall into the ocean as the major portion of the earth consists of oceans. But larger meteors that are also known as bolides may cause shockwaves, which can cause many problems. For example, in February 2013, a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, and crushed windows with its air blast. It estimated that this meteoroid or bolide was 18 meters or 59 feet in diameter.

Key Differences

  1. A solid object, moving in the solar system that has a size smaller then planets but larger than meteoroids, is known as an asteroid whereas, a solid object, moving in the solar system that has a size smaller then asteroid but larger than an atom is known a meteoroid.
  2. Asteroid got its name by its discoverer and is also numbered officially after the accurate determination of its orbital elements. On the other hand, the meteoroid is not so significant to get named or numbered.
  3. The asteroid is also known as a planetoid or a minor planet. Conversely, there is no other name for meteoroid.
  4. The asteroid is believed to originate from the remanents of planets that fell apart. On the flip side, the meteoroids are thought to originate from the disintegration of the comet.
  5. The asteroid usually made up of rocky substances, but according to the latest research, some are also composed of nickel and iron. On the other side, the meteoroid made up of rocky substances with metals on its outer surface.
  6. The asteroid is a larger body with size 1 to more than 100 kilometers in diameter while; the meteoroid is a smaller body with a size range less than 10 meters in diameter.
  7. Asteroid follows elliptical orbit such that its distance from the sun does not differ very much. On the other hand, meteoroid also has elliptical orbit but get pulled easily into larger bodies like planets due to its mass.
  8. Asteroid exerts a gravitational pull due to its enormous size whereas, the meteoroid does not have gravitational pull and burn up before falling on any other surface.
  9. The hitting of an asteroid would have a major impact on the earth with a change in the climate and diversity of the affected area. On the flip side, the meteoroid does not cause a major impact as it mostly burns up before hitting the ground or fall into the ocean as the major portion of the earth consists of oceans.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

The above discussion summarizes that asteroids are the minor planets that have rocky nature and may cause considerable loss by hitting the earth. On the flip side, meteoroids are the falling stars that look like a streak of light on the sky. They are tiny in size with rocky nature and burn up before falling on any other surface.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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