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Solar Debris. Asteroids, Meteors and Comets. Asteroids. Locations Types Meteors Impacts. What is an asteroid?. A small solar system object in orbit around the sun composed mostly of rock Sometimes called “Minor Planets”. Location of Asteroids. Near Earth Asteroids:

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solar debris

Solar Debris

Asteroids, Meteors and Comets






what is an asteroid
What is an asteroid?
  • A small solar system object in orbit around the sun composed mostly of rock
  • Sometimes called “Minor Planets”
location of asteroids
Location of Asteroids
  • Near Earth Asteroids:
    • Asteroids that orbit within the earth’s orbit
    • NEA
nea asteroids
NEA asteroids
  • Mathilde
  • 1950 DA
    • May hit earth in 2880
location of asteroids1
Location of Asteroids
  • Main Belt Asteroids:
    • Asteroids that orbit between Mars and Jupiter
    • AKA Asteroid Belt
    • Have stable orbits
    • Largest Asteroid - Ceres
location of asteroids2
Location of Asteroids
  • Trojans:
    • Asteroids that are trapped in Jupiter’s orbit due to it’s strong gravitational pull
    • Lagrange points
      • 60 degrees in front/behind Jupiter
location of asteroids3
Location of Asteroids
  • Most asteroids located in the asteroid belt
types of asteroids
Types of asteroids
  • C-type
  • S-Type
  • M-type
c type
  • Composition-Carbonaceous (lots of carbon)
  • Color-Very dark
  • Percent- Most common type of asteroid (75%)
  • Primitive
    • Unchanged since formation
    • Can be used to study early solar system
s type
  • Composition-Silicate (SiO2)
  • Color-Light in color
    • easier to see
  • Percent-Make up 15% of asteroids
  • Some primitive some differentiated
    • Geologic activity has changed some of the rocks
m type
  • Composition - Metallic
  • Origin-Metal cores of larger asteriods that broke apart
  • Color-Bright and reflective
  • Percent-Rare (5-10%)
  • Differentiated
    • Have melted since they formed.
solar debris day 2
Solar Debris Day 2

Meteorites and Impacts

meteor vs meteorites
Meteor vs. Meteorites
  • Meteorites:
    • Small pieces of
    • asteroids that
    • hits the earth's
    • atmosphere
  • Meteoroid is a small object traveling through could have once been part of an asteroid
  • 'Shooting Star' occurs when a meteoroid enters the atmosphere.
  • . Meteor Showers occur when the dust particles from an aged comet pass through the Earth's atmosphere
  • Meteor is the bright fireball seen when a sizeable meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and begins to burn...
  • Meteorite is the resulting body that has traveled through the atmosphere, survived the entry, and has landed on Earth
  • 37,000 – 78,000 tons of material fall to the earth each year
  • Most are dust sized particles
  • Shooting stars occur when meteriods enter the atmosphere and start ot burn up
types of meteorites
Types of Meteorites
  • Stony
  • Iron
  • Stony-Iron
  • Composition – Silicate Rock
  • Most common type
  • Hardest to find because it looks like rock
  • Primitive
  • Contain Chondrules
  • Small organic particles left over from the formation of the solar system
  • Composition – Metal (iron and nickel)
  • Not common type
  • Easy to find iron meteorites because unoxidized iron does not form on earth
  • Differentiated

Pieces of M-Type asteroids

stoney irons
  • Composition – Mix of Silicate and Metal
  • Very Rare
  • Easier to find then stoneys because of the iron
  • Deserts
    • Metal detectors easily detect iron
    • Very little erosion to destroy meteorites
  • Antartica
    • Metal detectors easily detect iron
    • Very little erosion to destroy meteorites
    • Meteorites contrast with snow
    • Moving glaciers push meteorites into piles
exit slip
Exit Slip
  • Contrast s, m and c type asteriods
  • Compare and Contrast stoney, iron, iron-stoney meteorites
  • Tell me what a meteor shower is
warm up
  • What are the three types of Asteriods?
  • What are the three types of Meteorites?
terrestial impacts
Terrestial Impacts
  • a. Asteroids have hit the Earth in the past and WILL hit the earth in the future
impact craters
Impact Craters
  • Barringer Crater
    • (1.2 km Diameter)
  • Manicouagan Impact Crater
    • (70 km in Diameter(
impact craters1
Impact Craters
  • Vredefort Crater
    • (140 km Diameter)
  • Richat Crater
    • (38 km in Diameter(
moon impacts
Moon Impacts

Crater Chain Tycho Crater

  • Ejecta Blanket –
    • a layer of debris surrounding an impact layer
  • Breccia –
    • crushed rock underneath the impact site
  • Tektites:
    • small glassy rocks that were melted during impact and blown through the air
    • Found in the Ejecta blanket
shocked quartz
Shocked Quartz
  • Minerals that get compressed due to impact
  • Found below the craters
what is a comet
What is a comet?
  • Small solar system body that orbits the sun
  • Collections of ice, dust and rocky particles
  • Different from asteroids because of the tail
comet s tail
Comet’s Tail
  • Exhibits a visible coma and tail when it gets close enough to the sun
  • The tail is a result of solar radiation
coma tail
  • Coma
    • Streams of dust and gas released from the atmosphere around the comet
  • Tail
    • Streams of dust and gas that point in slightly different directions
    • Dust reflects sun
oort cloud
Oort Cloud
  • Large Spherical cloud of billions of comets
  • Surrounds the solar system
  • 50000 to 100000 AU
kuiper belt
Kuiper Belt
  • Kuiper Belt
    • A belt of millions of comets from 30 to 100 AU from the sun
    • From the orbit of neptune outward
    • Discovered in 1992
kuiper belt objects
Kuiper Belt Objects
  • Quaoar
    • Distance: 43 AU
    • Diameter: 800 miles
kuiper belt objects1
Kuiper Belt Objects
  • Sedna
    • Distance: 86 AU
    • Diameter: 1000 miles
    • Probably has a moon
kuiper belt objects2
Kuiper Belt Objects
  • Pluto
    • Distance: 39.5 AU
    • Diameter: 1470 miles
    • Has moon: Charon

Similar size and same composition as other KBO’s


Large Kuiper Belt Objects:

Eris “Xena” 2400 km

Pluto 2320 km

Sedna ~1800 km

136472 1800 km

136108 1600 km

Quaoar 1300 km

meteor showers
Meteor Showers
  • Comets leave a trail of debris behind them that may be meteor showers


Major annual meteor showers:

Shower name Date CometComet


Quadrantid Jan 3 ? ?

Lyrid April 21 Thatcher 415 yrs

Eta aquarid May 4 Halley 76 yrs

Perseid Aug 11 Swift-Tuttle 105 yrs

Orionid Oct 31 Encke 3 yrs

Leonid Nov 16 Temple-Tuttle 33 yrs

Geminid Dec 13 Phaethon 1.4

zodiacal light
Zodiacal Light
  • Comet dust scattered through our solar system that can be seen directly under a dark/clear sky
  • Can be seen in the east a few hour before sunrise

Importance of studying Comets

Since Comets originate at the edges of our solar system, the Sun’s heat and radiation have not affected comets since their formation.

Because of this, comets still contain volatile elements from the solar system formation that have been baked out of other objects, such as asteroids and planets.

Therefore, comets are important to study. Their volatile elements give us unique information from the formation of our solar system.