Asteroids, Meteorites, Comets and Satellites

ASTEROIDS asteroid figure 2:Asteroid ASTEROIDS
These are solid metal rock objects that orbit the sun, and they are not as bigger as planets. They are mostly found between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter. This region where asteroids are found is called the asteroid belt.

The asteroids have an irregular shape and their size vary from few meters width to over 500 km. There are thousands of asteroids in the asteroid belt. Sometimes they collide to form more small asteroids. They can also collide with planets. It is believed that 65 million years ago asteroid collides with earth. we cannot see asteroids without the help of the telescope.


asteroid These are solid celestial bodies made that are orbit the sun. They are small less than the size of asteroids. Meteorites are made up of iron and nickel or silica. They are seen during the night time as a shooting star, but in fact they are not stars. They are formed after collision of asteroids or comets. Meteor is the process where by a meteorite falls and become disintegrated due to the friction in the earth’s atmosphere. Sometimes these objects are not completely evaporated in the earth’s atmosphere, thence they complete their journey to the earth’s ground and fall down as a meteorites.

In Tanzania meteorites are called “vimondo”, there are two areas where vimondo are found in Tanzania such as Mbozi district and Malampaka in Kwimba district. The largest known meteorite, estimated to weigh about 60 metric tons, is situated at Hoba West near Grootfontein, Namibia. (Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.)

Meteorites are visible between 110 km and 145 km above the earth’s surface. Sometimes meteorites fall with great force and caused large craters. Example of these crater is that found in Arizona desert in United States of America which estimated to have 150 m deep and width of 1 km. Sometimes crater can occupied by water and form lake. Example of lake formed by this situation is lake Manicougan, in Quebec, Canada.

A word comet is a Greek word which means long-haired star. These are piece of rocks that orbits the sun far away beyond the orbit of Pluto.. They can be seen from the earth only when they come close to the sun. They seem as a bright object moving fast and having head and tail, during the night. Usually comet are made up of ice and dust particles. As asteroid and meteorites, comets are irregular shaped celestial objects. Their orbit is highly elliptical (oval-shaped) <
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As they orbit the sun in their orbit when they come close near the sun, their ice turn into gas directly without melting. Further more the gases and dust particle together they form cloud of gases. As they orbit the sun this cloud form tail while comet it self form head. From the earth comets seems as a bright object with head and tail. These tail may have a distance of several kilometers on the space.

These are solid objects that orbit the planets. Satellites are also called moons (by small letter “m” )of planets. The moon of the Earth is called Moon by capital letter “M”. Almost all planets have got moon except Mercury and Venus. The number of moons depends on the size of the planet. For example, the biggest planet Jupiter has got more than 60 moons, while the small planets like the earth have got only one moon.

THE MOON The Moon of the earth takes 27.3 days to orbit the Earth. The time from one full Moon to another is 29.5 days. The Moon orbits the earth from west to east with the speed of 3,700km/h. The first person to discover moons is called Galileo Galilei in 1610 AD. The diameter of the Moon is about 3,480 km, with a diameter of 384,403 km.