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By Ron Miller

ISBN-10: 0761323635

ISBN-13: 9780761323631

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Additional info for Asteroids, Comets and Meteors (Worlds Beyond)

Example text

However, as the planet rotated, the enormous scars created by the titanic explosions—each larger than Earth itself—came into view. (NASA) (49) THE FATE OF A COMET The orbit of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 brought it too close to Jupiter, and the giant planet tore the comet into more than two dozen pieces, which spread out one after the other like beads on a string. (NASA) Where Do They Come From? The solar system is surrounded by a vast, spherical cloud of icy bodies called the Oort cloud. This is the source of most long-period comets.

He eventually eliminated all other possibilities— (57) M E T E O R , M E T E O R I T E, OR METEOROID? Although many people (including some scientists) use the word meteor indiscriminately, it really refers only to the streak of light made when a bit of rock or metal hits Earth’s atmosphere. The little bit of rock or metal itself is called a meteoroid while it is still flying around in space, and it’s called a meteorite when it’s found on the surface of Earth. Today most astronomers use the word meteor to refer to the visual effect seen in the sky and the word meteorite to refer to the object itself, whether it is in space or on Earth.

By the end of the century, about 60 Kuiper belt objects had been discovered, with about 10 new ones being found every year. Ranging in size from about 60 miles (100 km) to about 472 miles (760 km), these dark, reddish icy bodies (51) NEXT RETURN* (but is always visible through a telescope) A GIANT KUIPER BELT OBJECT In October 2002 scientists Chad Trujillo and Mike Brown discovered an object they have tentatively named Quaoar. A billion miles farther from the Sun than Pluto, it is the farthest object in the solar system ever to be seen with a telescope.

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Asteroids, Comets and Meteors (Worlds Beyond) by Ron Miller

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