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Word Count: 407
What is a meteor Meteorites are bits of the solar system that have fallen to the Earth Most come from asteroids including few are believed to have come specifically from 4 Vesta a few probably come from comets A small number of meteorites have been shown to be of Lunar 16 finds or Martian 16 origin A meteor is a bright streak of light in the sky a shooting star or a falling star produced by the entry of a small meteoroid into the Earths atmosphere Very bright meteors are known as fireballs Imagine a baseball zipping along at 30000 miles per hour Thats how big and fast many meteors are And though some are bigger than baseballs most are more like grains of sand The larger meteors are sometimes broken bits off asteroids or other planets The small stuff is often dust left by a passing comet When they hit the atmosphere meteors rub against air particles and create friction heating them to more than 3000 degrees Fahrenheit The intense heat vaporizes most meteors creating what we call shooting stars Most become visible at around 60 miles up Some large meteors splatter causing a brighter flash called a fireball and an explosion which can often be heard up to 30 miles away When meteors hit the ground theyre called meteorites Some meteors are bits broken off asteroids others -- mere cosmic dust -- are cast off by comets And one more term A meteoroid is an object in space that may if it enters our atmosphere become a meteor Whether an object breaks apart depends on its composition speed and angle of entry A faster meteor at an oblique angle suffers greater stress Meteors composed of iron withstand the stress better than those made of stone Even an iron meteor will usually break up as the atmosphere becomes denser -- around 5 to 7 miles up A meteor sometimes explodes above the surface
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