Friday, November 25, 2011

Asteroid Introduction


Asteroids are metallic, rocky bodies without atmospheres that orbit the Sun but are too small to be classified as planets. Due to their smaller size, asteroids do not have enough gravity to pull themselves into the shape of a ball.

Asteroids, which are some of the smallest objects in our solar system, are unusually shaped chunks of rock that come in a range of sizes. There are tens of thousands of asteroids in our solar system and some even have their own moons. Most asteroids are located in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It is still unclear what created the asteroid belt. Some scientists believe that asteroids are the remains of a planet that was shattered to pieces following a collision with another planet. Others believe it is simply material that was left over during the formation of our solar system. Asteroids have been known to collide with Earth. In some instances these collisions have left large craters that are still visible today.

Do you know??
While most asteroids can be found in the Asteroid Belt, others are in strange orbits straying far from home. It is currently believed that at least 5000 asteroids cross the Earth's orbit, some coming very close. Don't worry though, asteroids and comets only hit the Earth every 100 million years or so.

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