Either because of their whiteness, beauty and transit, or because of the information they can provide us about the Universe or our own planet, meteorites are some of the celestial phenomena that fascinate people the most. Here we tell you everything you need to know about meteorites, some curiosities about them, and other important related information.
What is a meteorite?
Meteors are space objects ranging in size from dust grains to several kilometers that enter the planet past the place where they were formed and reach its surface after surviving a journey through the atmosphere.
What is the difference between a meteorite, a meteorite, and a meteorite?
In order to make it clear what meteorites are, it is necessary to define what is meant by meteorite and meteorite. These concepts tend to name the same locally for their location.
In this way, any object in interplanetary space or in the Solar System that is too small to be an asteroid or comet is considered a meteoroid. On his part, the term meteors is derived from the Greek “meteororum”, which means a phenomenon in the sky, and refers to any object that causes a temporary glowing phenomenon in the atmosphere of the planet. Finally, as we said a few lines back, we will consider this meteorite when it survives this process and reaches the surface of the planet.
What is the difference between a meteorite, an asteroid and a comet?
All objects are from interplanetary space. Asteroids and meteorites have in common that they are rocky bodies, and the biggest difference between the two is their size: while meteorites are relatively small bodies, asteroids can reach ten kilometers.
Comets are objects that also orbit the Sun, unlike asteroids and meteorites, which are made of ice and dust. In contact with the sun’s rays and the planet’s atmosphere, comets begin to disappear and disintegrate, and their tails appear to display brilliantly.
How do meteorites originate?
Most meteorites to reach Earth come from the asteroid belt, an orb of space debris that surrounds the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and is believed to be the remnants of a planet that never formed due to the gravitational influence of the giant solar system.
On Earth we can also find a small percentage of meteorites from the Moon and Mars and in theory also from Mercury or Venus, although in the second case there are no known ones.
How many types of meteorites are there?
There are 3 main groups of meteorites based on their composition. In this way it can be distinguished between metallic meteorites, rock meteorites and metallic-rock or mixed meteorites.
Metallic meteorites, as their name suggests, are composed almost entirely of iron and nickel, although they contain traces of the other minerals carbon and sulfur to varying degrees. Most of these meteorites are thought to come from asteroids that first melted and then solidified in their history.
Rocky meteorites are composed mainly of silicate minerals, which are also the most abundant in the earth’s crust. These can be further divided into two different subtypes, chondrites and achondrites. About 4.5 billion years old, chondrites are some of the earliest known rocks. They are considered virgin rocks because they never melt and constitute the material from which the solar system was formed. Achondrites, meanwhile, include meteorites, asteroids, Mars and the Moon, and are rocks of an igneous nature, that is, once melted as magma.
Stony meteorites are made of iron ore and almost equal to silicates. They are also called siderolites or lithosiderites. In their composition you can also find various precious or semi-precious stones, and make some of the most beautiful meteorites known. These, in turn, can be distinguished into two types: pallasites, abundant green crystals of minerals called olivine, and mesosiderites, from broken fragments of minerals or rocks, a thinner material coagulated in the form of stone. of earthy rocks which are called breccias.
How many meteorites fall on Earth each year?
Although seeing meteorites in the sky is something very rare, scientists estimate that an average of 17,000 meteorites fall to Earth every year. Most of them, however, do not appear because of their smallness, less than 50 P., but it is estimated that some 40,000 tons of extraterrestrial material are attached to the Earth every year, most of them in the form of particles of dust.
Where on Earth do most meteorites fall?
We have two answers to this question. Since more than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, most meteorites that fall on our planet do so in the ocean.
The greatest proportion of meteorites according to the latitude falling on our planet occurs in the course between 45 degrees north and south of the equator. It is believed that the area that receives the most meteorites from Earth is Antarctica. And this is because, on account of the opposite of the white continent, it is there where they are easier to locate, and therefore it is one of the places in which they have put most of their knowledge into finding and researching them.