1. You are standing outside at night and see a brief flash streak across the sky. You are looking at a
2. Why does a meteor glow?
3. How is a meteor's glow created?
4. Where do meteors come from?
5. What is the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?
6. Why can a rather small meteorite make such a big crater when it hits?
Any moving object has energy because of its motion. That energy is technically called "kinetic energy." Mathematically, kinetic energy is mv2/2, where m is the object's mass and v its velocity.
Because the velocity enters as a square, a relatively small increase in velocity can lead to a large increase in energy.
In using the above formula for kinetic energy, the energy will be in units called joules if the mass is in kilograms and the velocity is in meters per second.
Because the energy released at impact is so high for even relatively small meteors, it will give you a better sense of their destructive power if you express the energy not in joules but in kilotons of TNT, the unit used to measure the explosive force of nuclear weapons.
1 kiloton of energy is 4x1012 joules. Thus, it will make the
significance of your answer clearer if you divide the answer you get in
joules by 4x1012. This will put your answer in kilotons.
9. What is a typical asteroid made of?
10. About how big is the largest asteroid known in the Solar System?
11. What is the asteroid belt?
12. What is the Kuiper Belt?
13. What is the Oort Cloud?
14. In what direction does a comet's tail point?
15. What are comets made of??
16. What do asteroids have to do with dinosaurs?
17. How did comets and asteroids form?
18. How do astronomers know what comets consist of?