Asteroids: Introduction

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1 Asteroids: Introduction Name Read through the information below. Then complete the Fill-Ins at the bottom of page. Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun in our solar system. Also known as minor planets they are usually too small to be shaped into a sphere like larger planets. Although asteroids exist throughout our solar system, over 800,000 asteroids are gathered in the Asteroid Belt between the planet Mars and Jupiter. Most asteroids are irregularly shaped and are covered in numerous craters from collisions with other asteroids. Scientists think asteroids are made of leftover material from the formation of the solar system over 4 billion years ago. Most asteroids are made of rocky material rich in silicate minerals and are gray in color, while a few contain iron and have a reddish appearance. Throughout Earth s history, asteroids have impacted its surface. Everyday tiny microscopic asteroids burn up in the atmosphere that surrounds Earth. However, sometimes larger asteroids make their way to the surface leaving huge craters. In 2013, the Russian city of Chelyabinsk was struck by a 65 ft. wide asteroid that created a shock wave and explosion as it flew through the atmosphere. Although large asteroid impacts are very rare occurrences, scientists believe the Earth was hit by a large rocky asteroid about 65 million years ago that may have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. This asteroid is estimated to have been over 6 miles in diameter and created a 100 mile diameter crater near the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. An impact of this size could have caused mega-tsunamis in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Some asteroids are classified as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). These asteroids are monitored by astronomers and scientists because their orbital paths get very close to the Earth as it orbits the Sun. Even though these NEOs have stable orbits, gravity from other planets or collisions with other asteroids can change their paths. Currently over 12,000 NEOs are monitored and watched by astronomers all around the globe. With better telescopes and equipment, astronomers are finding more NEOs in hopes to protect the Earth from future impacts similar to the Chelyabinsk event in Complete the statement Fill-Ins by using information from the above reading. 1 Asteroids are also called. 2 Over 800,000 asteroids are gathered in the. 3 The Asteroid Belt is located between _ and _. 4 Most asteroids are made of and are gray in color. 5 In 2013, the city of _ was hit by a 65 ft wide asteroid. 6 The Yucatan Peninsula impact may have created in the ocean. 7 are asteroids that come close to Earth s orbit. 8 Currently, over NEO s are monitored by astronomers.

2 Meteors: Introduction Name Read through the information below. Then complete the Fill-Ins at the bottom of page. A meteor, more commonly called a shooting star is the result of a small rocky or metallic object falling through the Earth s atmosphere. Generally, these objects range in size from small grains to about 3 feet in diameter. When these objects are in outer space they are called meteoroids, and only when they are burning in the Earth s atmosphere are they called meteors. Meteoroids enter the Earth s atmosphere at speeds over 40,000 miles per hour and quickly heat up due to atmospheric friction. As the friction grows, the meteor begins to glow and produce a trail of glowing hot gas. This visible bright streak in the nighttime sky is what many call a shooting star. Sometimes these meteors can travel hundreds of miles across the nighttime sky and be visible for over 30 seconds. One such meteor, known as the Peekskill Meteor, was observed in This meteor traveled 500 miles across West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, finally landing in Peekskill. If a meteor does not completely burn up in the atmosphere and falls to Earth, it is called a meteorite. Meteorites can be found all over the world and are often collected by scientists and rock collectors. Some large meteorites can create craters when they hit the Earth. Meteor Crater in Arizona is an example of a large impact crater. At over 3000 ft wide and 500 ft deep, it is one of the largest meteorite craters on the planet. Scientists estimate it was created over 50,000 years ago from a 150 ft diameter ironnickel meteorite. It is believed the meteor was traveling over 25,000 mph when it made the crater. Most meteorites are made of stone and are called chondrites. Some rare meteorites, about 6%, are made of iron and nickel which can be magnetic. Several times throughout the year, the Earth passes through an area of many meteoroids. This produces a meteor shower. During a meteor shower, hundreds, even thousands of meteors can be seen blazing through the night sky every hour. Although these events are spectacular, you do not have to wait for a meteor shower to see a meteor. On any given night you may spot 5 to 10 meteors per hour. Complete the statement Fill-Ins by using information from the above reading. 1 is the common name for a meteor. 2 A is a meteor when it is in outer space. 3 Meteors begin to heat up and burn as they pass through the Earth s 4 The Meteor was observed in 1992 and traveled over 500 miles. 5 A is a meteor that has landed on the ground. 6 Meteor Crater in Arizona is over ft wide and 500 ft deep. 7 A Chondrite meteor is made up of. 8 When the Earth passes through many meteoroids, a may occur.

3 Comets: Introduction Name Read through the information below. Then complete the True-False statements below. A comet is a small icy solar system object that has a very long and elliptical orbit around the sun. Short period comets may complete one orbit within 200 years, while long period comets may take thousands or millions of years to orbit. Comets appear in the sky as they approach the sun. As a comet gets closer to the sun, the comet s outer layer heats up and begins to outgas. Outgassing is when gasses that are dissolved or frozen in the comet begin to escape. This outgassing produces a glowing atmosphere on the surface called a coma and sometimes a visible comet tail of dust and gas is produced. The actual comet is sometimes called the nuclei and can range in diameter from several hundred feet to several hundred miles. The nuclei of a comet is composed of a loose collection of ice, dust, and small rocky particles. Many scientists describe comets as being large dirty snowballs. As a comet approaches the sun and develops its coma and tail, the solar winds and radiation forces the tail away from the sun. So the tail of a comet always points away from the sun as it swings around and begins its journey back into deep space. Comets are continually travelling through our solar system. Some particularly bright comets are referred to as great comets. One such comet is Halley s Comet, named after Edmond Halley, who correctly calculated its 76 year orbital period. Halley s Comet s first documented appearance was over 2000 years ago by Chinese astronomers. Halley's Comet was last seen from earth in 1986 and it will not appear in our sky again until the year In 2004 the European Space Agency sent a spacecraft called Rosetta to orbit comet Churyumov. Once it arrived in 2014, the spacecraft sent a probe to the surface which successfully landed on the comet. Now scientists from all over the world are studying the new information provided by this probe to further our knowledge of comets. Complete the True-False statements by circling the correct choice. 1 Comets have very short orbital periods. True - False 2 The atmosphere of the comet is called the Coma. True - False 3 The tail of a comet is made of fire. True - False 4 The actual comet is referred to as the Nuclei. True - False. 5 A dirty snowball is how some scientists describe comets. True - False 6 Comets that are extremely bright are called Mega-Comets. True - False 7 Halley s Comet takes 76 years to orbit our sun. True - False 8 The European Space Agency landed a probe on comet Churyumov. True - False

4 Asteroids, Meteors and Comets: Astronomical Object Sort Name Place the words from the word bank into the correct box. Astronomical Object Sort Word Bank Shooting Star Asteroid Belt Chondrite Outgas Near Earth Object Coma Minor Planet Edmond Halley Meteor Crater Elliptical Orbit Mega-Tsunamis Dinosaur Extinction Dirty Snowball In the Atmosphere Meteor Shower Asteroids Meteors Comets

5 Asteroids: Introduction MASTER KEY Read through the information below. Then complete the Fill-Ins at the bottom of page. Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun in our solar system. Also known as minor planets they are usually too small to be shaped into a sphere like larger planets. Although asteroids exist throughout our solar system, over 800,000 asteroids are gathered in the Asteroid Belt between the planet Mars and Jupiter. Most asteroids are irregularly shaped and are covered in numerous craters from collisions with other asteroids. Scientists think asteroids are made of leftover material from the formation of the solar system over 4 billion years ago. Most asteroids are made of rocky material rich in silicate minerals and are gray in color, while a few contain iron and have a reddish appearance. Throughout Earth s history, asteroids have impacted its surface. Everyday tiny microscopic asteroids burn up in the atmosphere that surrounds Earth. However, sometimes larger asteroids make their way to the surface leaving huge craters. In 2013, the Russian city of Chelyabinsk was struck by a 65 ft. wide asteroid that created a shock wave and explosion as it flew through the atmosphere. Although large asteroid impacts are very rare occurrences, scientists believe the Earth was hit by a large rocky asteroid about 65 million years ago that may have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. This asteroid is estimated to have been over 6 miles in diameter and created a 100 mile diameter crater near the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. An impact of this size could have caused mega-tsunamis in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Some asteroids are classified as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). These asteroids are monitored by astronomers and scientists because their orbital paths get very close to the Earth as it orbits the Sun. Even though these NEOs have stable orbits, gravity from other planets or collisions with other asteroids can change their paths. Currently over 12,000 NEOs are monitored and watched by astronomers all around the globe. With better telescopes and equipment, astronomers are finding more NEOs in hopes to protect the Earth from future impacts similar to the Chelyabinsk event in Complete the statement Fill-Ins by using information from the above reading. 1 Asteroids are also called Minor Planets. 2 Over 800,000 asteroids are gathered in the Asteroid Belt. 3 The Asteroid Belt is located between Mars and Jupiter. 4 Most asteroids are made of Rock Material/or Silicate Minerals and are gray in color. 5 In 2013, the city of Chelyabinsk was hit by a 65 ft wide asteroid. 6 The Yucatan Peninsula impact may have created Mega-Tsunamis in the ocean. 7 Near Earth Asteroids are asteroids that come close to Earth s orbit. 8 Currently, over 12,000 NEO s are monitored by astronomers.

6 Meteors: Introduction MASTER KEY Read through the information below. Then complete the Fill-Ins at the bottom of page. A meteor, more commonly called a shooting star is the result of a small rocky or metallic object falling through the Earth s atmosphere. Generally, these objects range in size from small grains to about 3 feet in diameter. When these objects are in outer space they are called meteoroids, and only when they are burning in the Earth s atmosphere are they called meteors. Meteoroids enter the Earth s atmosphere at speeds over 40,000 miles per hour and quickly heat up due to atmospheric friction. As the friction grows, the meteor begins to glow and produce a trail of glowing hot gas. This visible bright streak in the nighttime sky is what many call a shooting star. Sometimes these meteors can travel hundreds of miles across the nighttime sky and be visible for over 30 seconds. One such meteor, known as the Peekskill Meteor, was observed in This meteor traveled 500 miles across West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, finally landing in Peekskill. If a meteor does not completely burn up in the atmosphere and falls to Earth, it is called a meteorite. Meteorites can be found all over the world and are often collected by scientists and rock collectors. Some large meteorites can create craters when they hit the Earth. Meteor Crater in Arizona is an example of a large impact crater. At over 3000 ft wide and 500 ft deep, it is one of the largest meteorite craters on the planet. Scientists estimate it was created over 50,000 years ago from a 150 ft diameter ironnickel meteorite. It is believed the meteor was traveling over 25,000 mph when it made the crater. Most meteorites are made of stone and are called chondrites. Some rare meteorites, about 6%, are made of iron and nickel which can be magnetic. Several times throughout the year, the Earth passes through an area of many meteoroids. This produces a meteor shower. During a meteor shower, hundreds, even thousands of meteors can be seen blazing through the night sky every hour. Although these events are spectacular, you do not have to wait for a meteor shower to see a meteor. On any given night you may spot 5 to 10 meteors per hour. Complete the statement Fill-Ins by using information from the above reading. 1 Shooting Star is the common name for a meteor. 2 A Meteoroid is a meteor when it is in outer space. 3 Meteors begin to heat up and burn as they pass through the Earth s Atmosphere 4 The Peekskill Meteor was observed in 1992 and traveled over 500 miles. 5 A Meteorite is a meteor that has landed on the ground. 6 Meteor Crater in Arizona is over _3000_ ft wide and 500 ft deep. 7 A Chondrite meteor is made up of Stone. 8 When the Earth passes through many meteoroids, a Meteor Shower may occur.

7 Comets: Introduction MASTER KEY Read through the information below. Then complete the True-False statements below. A comet is a small icy solar system object that has a very long and elliptical orbit around the sun. Short period comets may complete one orbit within 200 years, while long period comets may take thousands or millions of years to orbit. Comets appear in the sky as they approach the sun. As a comet gets closer to the sun, the comet s outer layer heats up and begins to outgas. Outgassing is when gasses that are dissolved or frozen in the comet begin to escape. This outgassing produces a glowing atmosphere on the surface called a coma and sometimes a visible comet tail of dust and gas is produced. The actual comet is sometimes called the nuclei and can range in diameter from several hundred feet to several hundred miles. The nuclei of a comet is composed of a loose collection of ice, dust, and small rocky particles. Many scientists describe comets as being large dirty snowballs. As a comet approaches the sun and develops its coma and tail, the solar winds and radiation forces the tail away from the sun. So the tail of a comet always points away from the sun as it swings around and begins its journey back into deep space. Comets are continually travelling through our solar system. Some particularly bright comets are referred to as great comets. One such comet is Halley s Comet, named after Edmond Halley, who correctly calculated its 76 year orbital period. Halley s Comet s first documented appearance was over 2000 years ago by Chinese astronomers. Halley's Comet was last seen from earth in 1986 and it will not appear in our sky again until the year In 2004 the European Space Agency sent a spacecraft called Rosetta to orbit comet Churyumov. Once it arrived in 2014, the spacecraft sent a probe to the surface which successfully landed on the comet. Now scientists from all over the world are studying the new information provided by this probe to further our knowledge of comets. Complete the True-False statements by circling the correct choice. 1 Comets have very short orbital periods. True - False 2 The atmosphere of the comet is called the Coma. True - False 3 The tail of a comet is made of fire. True - False 4 The actual comet is referred to as the Nuclei. True - False. 5 A dirty snowball is how some scientists describe comets. True - False 6 Comets that are extremely bright are called Mega-Comets. True - False 7 Halley s Comet takes 76 years to orbit our sun. True - False 8 The European Space Agency landed a probe on comet Churyumov. True - False

8 Asteroids, Meteors and Comets: Astronomical Object Sort Place the words from the word bank into the correct box. Astronomical Object Sort Word Bank MASTER KEY Shooting Star Asteroid Belt Chondrite Outgas Near Earth Object Coma Minor Planet Edmond Halley Meteor Crater Elliptical Orbit Mega-Tsunamis Dinosaur Extinction Dirty Snowball In the Atmosphere Meteor Shower Asteroids Meteors Minor Planet Asteroid Belt Near Earth Object Dinosaur Extinction Mega-Tsunamis Shooting Star Meteor Crater Chondrite Meteor Shower In the Atmosphere _ Comets Outgas Elliptical Orbit Dirty Snowball Edmond Halley Coma NOTE: Order of answers does not matter. Just that the correct items are in the correct box.

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